Driving without a license does not put you above Arizona’s drunk driving laws. You can still be arrested and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona even if you don’t have a license. In fact, you will face additional charges and increased penalties on top of a DUI if you are illegally operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. It is important to contact a DUI defense attorney in Scottsdale immediately if you get pulled over while driving unlicensed.
No part of Arizona’s DUI law requires a driver to have a valid license to be found guilty of drunk driving. Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Section 28-1381 defines drunk driving as driving or being an actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor or combination thereof. If a driver is impaired even to the slightest degree, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle.
Officially, a driver in Arizona is too intoxicated to drive if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above 0.08 percent within two hours of driving. However, a driver could face a DUI arrest even with a lesser BAC if the police believe the driver is impaired. Note that being in “actual physical control” may not only mean driving but simply sitting in a parked car.
A DUI conviction in Arizona can result in penalties such as jail time, expensive fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, a mandatory ignition interlock device, and drug or alcohol counseling. The sentence will vary based on whether you have prior DUI convictions on your record or if there are aggravating factors, such as a car accident or a minor in the vehicle. If you get arrested for a DUI without a valid license, this is also an aggravating factor that can result in additional charges and penalties.
All drivers in Arizona must have valid, nonexpired driver’s licenses to operate motor vehicles. It is against the law to get behind the wheel without a license, with a learners permit if you are not fulfilling the requirements of the permit, with the wrong type of license for the vehicle that you are operating, or with a license that has been suspended or revoked for any reason.
If you get arrested for drunk driving while driving unlicensed, you may receive a second criminal charge for the license infraction or your DUI charge can be elevated to an aggravated DUI. Under ARS 28-1383(a)(1), an aggravated DUI can be charged if a person is driving while under the influence while the driver’s license is suspended, canceled, revoked or refused or while a restriction is in place as a result of a previous DUI.
An aggravated DUI will come with additional penalties. They depend on the circumstances, such as if you never had a license to begin with or if you were driving on a suspended license. In Arizona, an aggravated DUI is a class 4 felony with penalties such as mandatory prison time and a sentence of up to 2.5 years. Other penalties include the forfeiture of your vehicle, up to $150,000 in fines, additional license revocation for up to 3 years, 10 years of probation and an ignition interlock device for up to 10 years.
If you are being charged with driving under the influence without a license or an aggravated DUI in Arizona, contact Rosenstein Law Group immediately for a free legal consultation. Our lawyers can begin work on your criminal case right away, helping you understand and protect your legal rights while facing this serious type of DUI charge. We will build you the strongest defense possible to protect your future. Call (480) 248-7666 now.