In an effort to dissuade drivers from drinking and driving, Arizona penalizes DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) crimes harshly. If you are convicted of a DUI, the repercussions could have a lasting impact on your life, career and future. Understanding the full ramifications of a DUI conviction can help you prepare for what’s next if you have been arrested for this crime.
In Arizona, a driving under the influence conviction will remain on your criminal record forever. A DUI is a criminal conviction, which in Arizona cannot be erased or expunged. In some cases, you may be able to have your record set aside. Having a permanent criminal record with a DUI conviction can interfere with many aspects of your life, including the jobs that you can get, the professional licenses that you are permitted to obtain and your housing options.
A DUI is a significant drain on your time and personal freedom. You may face one day or many years of jail time for a DUI conviction, depending on the circumstances. You will also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. You may be required to perform community service, return to court periodically, undergo drug and alcohol testing, and take substance counseling classes. All of these are significant time commitments.
DUIs are expensive. The average price of getting a first-time DUI in Arizona is around $8,000 to $11,000. This can increase in a serious case, such as a DUI involving a car accident, as you may face civil liability for the damage caused to victims, as well. Expenses that are often connected to a DUI include hefty fines, legal fees, court costs, the price of an ignition interlock device (installation plus monthly fees), vehicle impoundment fees, the cost of reinstating your license, and the price of mandatory drug or alcohol education classes.
Many people who get arrested for DUIs suffer consequences to their careers. This is especially true of jobs that require driving, such as commercial truck driving or delivery truck driving. If a sentence includes time in jail or a suspended driver’s license, this could lead to job termination. In addition, employers are often picky about the job applicants that they choose to hire. Making the choice may come down to comparing candidates’ background checks. Your criminal DUI record could be a mark against you in this case, making it more difficult to find a job in the future.
With a DUI conviction in Arizona often comes a requirement to obtain high-risk or nonstandard car insurance, known as SR-22 car insurance coverage. Car insurance companies view DUI convictions as a factor that makes a policyholder a higher crash risk. This means the car insurance rates for this individual increase. The cost of SR-22 insurance is often at least twice as high as standard vehicle insurance.
A DUI is a major offense in Arizona that can have a long-term effect on your life. Multiple DUIs bring even more serious penalties and consequences. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, it is critical to contact a Tempe DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you reduce the impact of a DUI conviction on your life by negotiating for lesser charges or penalties, or even getting your case dismissed. A lawyer will fight for your future.