DUI or Driving under the influence refers to the act of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs. This drunken driving charge is a criminal offense in most countries.
A person is guilty of DUI if s/he drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance to the extent that his/her mental faculties are impaired or when his/her blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit for the state.
The penalties for being convicted of DUI depend on prior criminal and traffic records, the level of alcohol in blood, and the specific facts of the case at hand. Following a successful conviction for DUI charges, many first time offenders will be required to attend AA meetings or special classes. In some cases, a breathalyzer may be attached to their car’s ignition to prevent the car from starting when they have consumed alcohol. Higher BAC levels can double the penalties under some DUI laws.
Arizona has three basic laws prohibiting driving with illegal amounts of alcohol in your system.
§28-1381(a)(1): It is a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Also known as driving while under the influence or impaired to the slightest degree.
§28-1381(a)(2): It is a misdemeanor to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours of operating a motor vehicle. Also known as driving with a BAC over the limit or .08 or more.
§28-1382(a): It is a misdemeanor to have a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more within two hours of operating a motor vehicle. Also known as Extreme DUI.
§4-244.33: It is a misdemeanor for a person under 21 years old to drive a motor vehicle while there is any alcohol in the person’s body. This is commonly known as a underage DUI.
In most cases, both the §28-1381(a) offenses will be charged. This will result where you are cited for DUI and your reading is above a .08 but below a .15. Even though there is only one act, the law says a citizen can be charged and convicted of both offenses. However, the law says you can only be punished once for the offenses. (The punishments are identical.)
To convict you of violating §28-1381(a)(1) the prosecutor must show you were operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol. To convict you of violating §28-1381(a)(2) the prosecutor must show you were operating with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours of operating a motor vehicle.
The police can still cite you and the prosecutor can still convict you for violating §28-1381(a)(1), operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol even if your reading is under a .08. Thus, if the police think you are under the influence but below a .08, they can still prosecute you for DUI.
If your reading is above .15, then the police will cite you with three charges, they are §28-1381(a)(1), §28-1381(a)(2), and §28-1382(a). Thus, the prosecutor must show §28-1382(a) the prosecutor must show you were operating with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more within two hours of operating a motor vehicle. If they prove this, it follows they would be able to convict you for having a BAC of .08 or more. Also, if a jury or judge believes you had a BAC of .15 or more, they would convict you of driving under the influence. The penalties for this offense are more severe than the penalties for the §28-1381(a) charges.
Arizona Felony DUI Laws
A common question people ask is whether their DUI is a Felony. In Arizona, most DUIs are misdemeanors. However, there are three different ways your DUI can be a “Felony DUI.” Arizona laws governing felony DUIs is set forth in A.R.S. §28-1383.
A.R.S. §28-1383(A)(1): You received your DUI while your license was suspended for any reason or restricted due to a DUI. This is a class four felony.
A.R.S. §28-1383(A)(2): This is at least your third DUI within seven years. That is, you have at least two prior DUI convictions within seven years of your new DUI. This is a class four felony.
A.R.S. §28-1383(A)(3): You received your DUI when you had a child in your vehicle that is under 15 years old. This is a class six felony.
A.R.S §28-1383(A)(4): You received your DUI while your license was restricted due to an ignition interlock requirement. This is a class 4 felony.
If your DUI falls within any of these four categories, it is a felony. Felony DUIs as serious as the class fours have a mandatory prison sentence and three year revocations of driver’s license.
It is possible to be cited with other felonies related to your DUI, such as manslaughter. However, these are not DUI charges. They are other felony offenses that may have arose as a result of your driving, such as causing a fatal or serious injury accident while DUI.
Arizona DUI Laws Under 21 Years Old
Unlike a regular DUI, a person under 21 years old can be charged with a criminal DUI offense regardless of their BAC or level of impairment. This is to say, a person under 21 years old with any amount of alcohol, even just a mere presence of alcohol in there system, can be charged and possibly found guilty of a DUI offense. This offense is often called a “baby DUI.” Pursuant to A.R.S. 4-244(33), it is illegal for a person under the age of twenty-one years to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while there is any spiritous liquor in the person’s body. A charge for violating 4-244(33) is often made together with charges for DUI. This is to say, a person under 21 can be charged with both a DUI offense and a separate offense for being under 21 while driving a motor vehicle.
In addition to any action that may be taken by the Court following your arrest for DUI, the Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division may take separate action to suspend your license. Often times,
a person arrested for DUI is served a document called an Admin Per Se Affidavit. This document is the State’s attempt to suspend your license for 90 consecutive days. After being served an Admin Per Se order of suspension, if no action is taken, the suspension will likely become effective 15 days from the date you are served.
If you fail to submit to a chemical test or refuse a chemical test, the arresting officer may serve you an order of suspension suspending your license for one year. Again, if no action is taken, the one year suspension will likely become effective 15 days after you are served.
Unfortunately, in addition to the suspensions for DUI, MVD may revoke your license if you are convicted of a felony offense involving the use of a motor vehicle. This revocation is one year. Likewise, if you are convicted of a second DUI offense within 7 years, MVD will revoke your license to drive for one year.
Finally, each DUI conviction will result in 8 points on your license. Whenever a person acquires between 8-12 points on their license, MVD will suspend the person’s license to drive for 6 months. However, fortunately, it may be possible to avoid this additional six month suspension by attending Traffic Survival School.
Often times, the initial driving consequences following an arrest for DUI is just the beginning. Something as slight as a ticket for failing to signal may result in you losing your license for up to one year or more after your arrest. Thus, it is important you contact us today to discuss any MVD consequences of your unfortunate arrest for DUI.
Admin Per Se (.08 Or More)
Any time a person submits to a chemical test which results in a BAC of .08 or more, MVD may issue a suspension for 90 days. This suspension is called an admin per se suspension. Often times, if a person submits to a breath test which results in a reading of .08 or more, the arresting officer will serve the arrested person with an admin per se suspension before releasing them. Once served an admin per se suspension, if no further action is taken, the 90 day suspension will automatically become effective 15 days after it is served. The result is that the person’s license will be suspended for 90 consecutive days.
Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test
After being arrested for DUI, any time someone refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test at the request of the arresting officer, the person is deemed to have refused. As a consequence for refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, MVD may suspend the person’s license for one year. This suspension is often termed an implied consent suspension. Like the 90 day suspension for having a BAC of .08 or more, if no further action is taken, the one year suspension for refusing a chemical test becomes automatically effective 15 days after it is served.
2nd Offense DUI
Upon notice of a second conviction for any DUI offense within 7 years, MVD will revoke the person’s license to drive for one year.
Upon notice of any conviction for a felony DUI offense, MVD will revoke the person’s license to drive for three years. This revocation is in addition to any consequences MVD may impose for submitting to a test resulting in a BAC of .08 or more or refusing a chemical test.
Types Of DUI
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.08% or higher
BAC of 0.15% or greater
Steps to Surviving a DUI
- Understand the Consequences you’re facing
- Find An experienced Lawyer who specializes in DUI
- Get A Free Consultation
- Make the most out of your consultation