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Scottsdale Super Extreme DUI Lawyer

Posted on May 31, 2024 in assault & violent crimes

A charge of super extreme DUI is the most serious non-felony DUI charge you can face in Arizona and can have life-altering consequences for you that go beyond time spent in jail or financial penalties.

Here we explain what a super extreme DUI is under Arizona law, what makes it different from other kinds of DUI offenses, the kinds of penalties you can face from a DUI conviction, and some of the defenses that may be available to you if you are accused of super extreme DUI.

If you have already been charged with DUI of any kind in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona, then experienced Scottsdale DUI attorney Craig Rosenstein and the Rosenstein Law Group can help you. Our law firm offers aggressive strategies to attack the state’s DUI case. We have successfully defended people accused of drunk driving in the Phoenix area and throughout Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties.

Call us at (480) 248-7666 for a free initial consultation with an experienced Scottsdale DUI lawyer.

What is a Super Extreme DUI in Arizona?

The short definition of a super extreme DUI is having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.20 while you are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. A super extreme DUI conviction carries the penalties of a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.

How Does Super Extreme DUI Fit Into Arizona DUI Laws?

Arizona has three levels of misdemeanor DUI: DUI to the slightest degree/DUI with a BAC of .08 to .149 DUI, extreme DUI, and super extreme DUI. The dividing lines among the levels are based on BAC level measurements. Here is how they break down:

  • DUI to Slightest Degree/.08 BAC of above: your BAC level is at least 0.08, up to and including a 0.149 measurement.
  • Extreme DUI: For this charge to apply your BAC level must be at least 0.15, up to 0.199.
  • Super extreme DUI: Per above, this is where your BAC level is 0.20 or above.

These BAC measurements must be taken within two hours of when you were last driving.

Can You Be Arrested for Super Extreme DUI While You Are Not Driving Your Car?

The term “driving under the influence” can be misleading in one way: you do not need to be driving a car to be accused of DUI. Instead, the issue is whether you exercise physical control over the vehicle.

What is Actual Physical Control?

A person can receive a DUI charge if they are driving the car when they come into contact with the officer or if they are not driving but are in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.

Factors in Deciding Actual Physical Control

What constitutes actual physical control depends on looking at all the circumstances when a police officer makes the decision. What we know from Arizona court decisions is that you can be in actual physical control over a vehicle for DUI purposes even if you are parked off the roadway and the engine is off.

Instead, in these situations what the officer will look for is how readily you could resume control over the vehicle again. The easier it is for you to start driving, the more likely the officer will conclude that you are in actual physical control even if you are not moving.  The following are the legal factors the Officer (and a jury at a DUI trial) can consider if the person is in actual physical control or not:

  1. Whether the vehicle was running
  2. Whether the ignition was on
  3. Where the ignition key was located
  4. Where and in what position the driver was found in the vehicle
  5. Whether the person was awake or asleep
  6. Whether the vehicle’s headlights were on
  7. Where the vehicle was stopped
  8. Whether the driver had voluntarily pulled off the road
  9. Time of day; 10. Weather conditions
  10. Whether the heater or air conditioner was on
  11. Whether the windows were up or down
  12. Any explanation of the circumstances shown by the evidence

Penalties for a Super Extreme DUI Conviction

As a Class 1 misdemeanor, a super extreme DUI conviction carries the following punishments:

First-Time Super Extreme DUI

  • Minimum 45 consecutive days in jail, up to 180 days (in most courts this can be reduced to 3 days jail and 11 days home detention with ignition interlock installation on the defendant’s car for at least 12 months)
  • Over $3,200 in fines, plus you pay jail costs
  • License suspension for 90 days (work permit possible after 30 days)
  • A possible community service requirement
  • Up to five years probation
  • Drug and alcohol screening
  • Ignition interlock on your car for 18 months after your license is reinstated
List of first-time super extreme DUI penalties

Second Super Extreme DUI within seven years Penalties

  • At least 180 days spent in jail
  • A fine of $4,600, plus additional fees and costs
  • A drug and alcohol screening requirement
  • A possible community service requirement
  • A suspension of your driver’s license
  • A two-year ignition interlock device requirement, which will cost you at least $1,500.

Additional Consequences for a Super Extreme DUI

In addition to the penalties that Arizona DUI laws specify, there are other ways that a super extreme DUI can negatively affect your life.

  • Possible felony DUI penalties: Aggravating circumstances, like prior DUI convictions with a third DUI conviction within a seven-year period or a DUI that resulted in a car accident resulting in death or serious injury, can in some cases result in normal misdemeanor-level charges being increased to felony-level aggravated DUI instead.
  • Points on your Arizona driver’s license: A super extreme DUI conviction usually adds eight points to your license. This all but guarantees that you will need to attend traffic survival school.
  • High-risk auto insurance requirement: This is a requirement that the Arizona Motor Vehicles Division can impose on you. Arizona’s high-risk insurance is also known as an SR-22 insurance requirement. Depending on your situation, an SR-22 insurance requirement can last for up to three years.
  • Possible alcohol monitoring requirement: In some cases, a judge can add conditions to your super extreme DUI sentence that require you to wear a continuous alcohol monitoring device or to blow into a breathalyzer that transmits data electronically regularly.

In-Home Detention

In some cases, you can serve a minimum jail time for a super extreme DUI conviction and then be eligible to serve the rest of your sentence subject to in-home custody. This could reduce your jail time to as little as three days for a first-time conviction.

Like with the alcohol monitoring requirement above, this would require wearing a continuous alcohol monitoring device or daily breathalyzer tests.

What Defenses are Available to a Super Extreme DUI Charge?

Every DUI defense is unique, based on the specific facts surrounding your DUI arrest. At the Rosenstein Law Group, a skilled Scottsdale DUI lawyer will use a broad-based defense strategy for DUI charges that challenges the prosecutor’s case in the following ways:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop of you for DUI
  • Lack of probable cause to arrest you for DUI
  • Improper administration of field sobriety tests
  • Improper maintenance or faulty calibration of breathalyzer or other alcohol testing devices
  • Lack of legal grounds to take a blood sample from you
  • Problems with the police chain of custody of evidence against you

Learn How a Super Extreme DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You

Arizona is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.

Even for a first-time drunk driving arrest, judges’ hands are tied on a super extreme DUI. This means it is up to you and your DUI defense attorney to seek the best possible outcome for you. The Rosenstein Law Group examines every last detail of the prosecution’s evidence to find grounds for dismissal, reduce the charges to a lesser DUI, or present an effective defense at trial.

In our legal representation, we do our own investigation of the facts of your super extreme DUI charge by examining the police report and negotiating with the prosecuting attorney. Depending on the outcome of our investigation and negotiations, we may be able to reach a plea agreement for a lesser charge.

Free Consultation With a Super Extreme DUI Lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ

Time is of the essence to avoid the worst consequences of DUI convictions, so speak with an aggressive Scottsdale DUI attorney as soon as possible following a super extreme DUI charge. Contact Rosenstein Law Group for a free case evaluation. You can reach us day or night, seven days a week, at (480) 248-7666.

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