Arizona's harsh penalties for a DUI conviction have been very well documented in this blog. However, what happens when we apply these penalties to people that are visiting Arizona and have been convicted of a DUI?
Arizona is by far one of the toughest states in which to get convicted of a DUI. The punishments in the Arizona Courts for DUIs are crushing-- even for first offense DUIs involving people with absolutely no criminal history-- as you will receive penalties from both the Court and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). If you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, our Courts and Judges have no discretion to lighten punishments thanks to mandatory sentences imposed by our Arizona State legislators. However, on the flip-side, the punishments doled out by the Arizona MVD are relatively light compared to the MVDS (or DMVs) in many other States. Now, if you are from out-of-state and are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, you will also have an additional agency to deal with: your State's MVD (Motor Vehicle Division) or DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). So, if you are from another state, are accused of a DUI while visiting Arizona, and take a plea which requires you to plead guilty to DUI (Arizona is a plead to the max state, so almost every plea requires that), or are found guilty at trial, then your home state will be notified and the MVD or DMV in your State will take its own separate actions. Imagine being forced to go to jail, pay thousands of dollars in fines, go to classes and be told that you will need a breath machine on your car for a year (all of which are punishments handed out by the Arizona Courts and Arizona MVD), and then, believing that you have paid handsomely, you return home and find out that your home state's MVD or DMV has suspended or revoked your right to drive for over a year, or some other similar punishment. As you can see, there are serious consequences for individuals who come to Arizona from other states and get accused of DUI here. Arizona has long been held as a vacation destination, and we see a fair amount of out-of-state drivers on the road here. So, whether you come to Arizona for a pre-season Spring Training baseball game, a work conference, or simply a golfing trip, when you come to Arizona with a driver's license issued by another state, the consequences of being accused of DUI in Arizona can be disastrous.
Combine Arizona's booming tourist industry and Arizona's tough DUI enforcement and punishments, and the rationale behind the Arizona saying "Come on vacation, leave on probation" becomes all too apparent.