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Arizona DUI Laws

Posted on February 5, 2021 in DUI

If anything, Arizona’s DUI laws and punishments are some of the strictest in the United States. Arizona takes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs seriously, and so should anyone traveling Arizona roads.  

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Arizona is defined as driving under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.” In Arizona, an intoxicated person only needs to be in actual physical control of a vehicle, not necessarily driving, to face alcohol-related charges.

 It may be easy to determine whether or not a person was actively driving a vehicle. However, actual physical control is more subjective. In Arizona, a judge, or jury, decides actual physical control on a case by case basis.  

Generally, judges and juries look to the following factors help to make this decision: 

  • If the vehicle was running;
  • The location of the key;
  • The location of the driver;
  • If the driver was sleeping;
  • If the headlights were on; and
  • The location of the vehicle.

Every alcohol-related charge has its own unique facts. To learn more about a specific actual physical control case or defenses to any DUI-related charge, call an experienced Scottsdale DUI lawyer.      

Blood Alcohol Concentration in Arizona

Whether a person is driving a vehicle or is in actual physical control of a vehicle, Arizona’s maximum blood alcohol concentration is .08% for adults over the age of twenty-one. For a commercial driver over the age of twenty-one, the maximum blood alcohol concentration is .04%.  

Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under twenty-one years of age driving under the influence of alcohol. This means that any driver under the age of twenty-one may not test higher than .00% on a blood alcohol concentration test.  

Arizona’s Implied Consent Law

Arizona, and most other states, have an Implied Consent Law. This means Arizona drivers automatically consent to the blood alcohol concentration and drug content test, or BADC, when accepting their licenses and driving privileges.  

If found over the legal driving limit of .08%, a driver immediately loses their license. Before regaining any driving privileges, a driver must complete an alcohol or drug screening. If a driver is under the age of twenty-one, they automatically lose their driving privileges for two years for any level of intoxication.

A driver can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, drivers who refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test automatically lose their driving privileges for twelve months. A driver who refuses a second breathalyzer test within an eighty-four month period automatically loses their driving privileges for two years.  

Law enforcement can request a warrant from the court ordering any driver who refuses a BADC test to submit to a blood draw for testing.

The Certified Ignition Interlock Device

In addition to the revocation of their driving privileges, drivers convicted of DUI in Arizona must equip their vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device for a designated period. A certified ignition interlock device, or CIID, is a breath alcohol testing instrument connected to the ignition and power system of the vehicle.  

To drive a vehicle equipped with a CIID, the driver must blow into the device before turning the ignition. If the driver has a blood alcohol level, the vehicle will not start. The driver is required to blow into the device randomly while driving.

Drivers with certified ignition interlock devices operate their vehicles subject to restricted driving privileges on a case by case basis. Often driving is limited to going to and from work, school, doctor appointments, and other necessary destinations.

For specific information about CIID, The Arizona Department of Transportation has a list of approved CIID manufacturers and installers in the state.

Criminal Consequences for a DUI in Arizona

A criminal conviction for DUI in Arizona does more than effect one’s driving privileges. It can result in punishment ranging from fines and minimal jail time to a lengthy prison sentence and exorbitant costs.  

These consequences depend on numerous factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Age of the intoxicated person;
  • Level of intoxication; and
  • Any prior offenses. 

Arizona is one of a handful of states that requires mandatory jail time for a first time DUI conviction. A first-offense for DUI is also subject to:

  • Not less than ten consecutive days in jail;
  • A fine of not less than $1,250;
  • Alcohol or drug screening, education, and treatment;
  • Equipment of a vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device; and
  • Community service. 

Any second and subsequent offenses for DUI carry a potential:

  • Jail sentence of no less than ninety days;
  • A fine of no less than $3,000;
  • License revocation of twelve months;
  • Alcohol or drug screening, education, and treatment;
  • Equipment of a vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device; and
  • Community service. 

It is important to note that a third-offense for DUI within seven years is a felony and carries:

  • A mandatory prison sentence of no less than four months;
  • Fines and assessments of more than $4,000;
  • License revocation of 12 months;
  • Alcohol or drug screening, education, and treatment; and
  • Equipment of a vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device for two years.

The above ranges of punishment apply to DUI convictions where a person’s blood alcohol concentration is under .15%. Jail time and fines increase significantly when blood alcohol concentration reaches .15% and again when blood alcohol concentration surpasses .20%. These cases are known as Extreme DUIs and Super Extreme DUIs.  

Let an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Fight for You

If you or someone you know is facing any DUI charge, the DUI defense attorneys at Rosenstein Law Group are ready to fight for you. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to defend you against your first, second, or any subsequent DUI.  

DUI charges in Arizona require immediate attention. That is why Rosenstein Law Group takes calls any time of the day or night. We are a team of tough negotiators and strong litigators and will take your case to trial if that is your best option. Your initial consultation is free so contact us today.

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