DUI in Arizona can come in a number of varieties depending on how high the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is, and whether the driver had any drugs in their body. As one might expect, as the BAC goes up, so do the consequences. The possible types of DUI include:

  • DUI in the slightest
  • DUI with .08 BAC or above, sometimes called a “regular” DUI
  • DUI Drugs
  • Extreme DUI with BAC more than .15 and less than .20
  • Extreme DUI with .20 BAC or above
  • Aggravated DUI

DUI in the Slightest

In a nutshell, you can be charged with a DUI in the slightest if you have any amount of drugs or alcohol in your body and a police officer believes you were at all impaired while in control of your car.

The language of the law set out in A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1) is:

It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances: While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance of any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.

Possible Penalties for a DUI in the Slightest

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Not less than 10 consecutive days in jail (9 days may be suspended if the driver completes court-ordered drug or alcohol screening). A class 1 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail.
  • Fines in excess of $1,500
  • 90 day license suspension (can apply for restricted license after 30 days)
  • May be ordered to perform community service (restitution)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 6 to 12 months or more
  • Alcohol or drug screening
  • Attend Traffic Survival School
  • 8 points on the driver’s license
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

If the driver had a prior DUI conviction in the preceding 7 years, there will be additional penalties:

  • Not less than 90 days in jail, 30 of which must be served consecutively. Up to 60 days may be suspended.
  • About $3,000 in additional fines
  • 1-year license suspension (may be able to get a restricted license after 45 days).
  • 30 hours of community service

DUI with .08 BAC or above

As you probably concluded from the heading above, you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is above .08 and you are in control of a motor vehicle, or have been in control of a vehicle in the prior 2 hours, regardless of whether or not you are actually impaired.

The language of the law set out in A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(2) is:

A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances: If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.

This law can give rise to some bizarre scenarios in which a driver was not actually driving under the influence, but still can be charged under this statute. For example, say a person drives home and runs his own garbage can in his driveway while parking. The driver has had nothing to drink, he just made a mistake. This catches the attention if his busy-body neighbor, who calls the police and claims the driver must have been intoxicated. Between the time the driver arrived hime and the time the police arrive at the driver’s hime 90 minutes later, the driver drinks several strong margaritas. By the time the police arrive, the driver’s BAC is .08 and the police charge him with a DUI. Although the statute specifically contemplates this scenario – it states the BAC must be the result of alcohol consumed before or while driving – it is going to fall on the driver to argue this defense if an officer decides to issue a ticket for a DUI in this situation. This would probably be a good case to take to a jury trial.

Possible Penalties for a DUI .08 and above

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Not less than 10 consecutive days in jail (9 days may be suspended if the driver completes court-ordered drug or alcohol screening). A class 1 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail.
  • Fines in excess of $1,500
  • 90 day license suspension
  • May be ordered to perform community service (restitution)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months or more
  • Alcohol or drug screening
  • Attend Traffic Survival School
  • 8 points on the driver’s license
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

If the driver had a prior DUI conviction in the preceding 7 years, there will be additional penalties:

  • Not less than 90 days in jail, 30 of which must be served consecutively. Up to 60 days may be suspended.
  • About $3,000 in additional fines
  • 1-year license suspension (may be able to get a restricted license after 45 days).
  • 30 hours of community service

DUI Drugs

A driver can be charged with a DUI resulting from drugs under two statutes. One is the DUI in the Slightest, described above which requires actual impairment. The other charge does not require any actual impairment.

The law only requires that 1) the driver has drugs in his or her body, and 2) that the driver be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

The actual language of the law set out in A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(3) is:

A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances: While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.

A.R.S. 13-3401 is a huge list of all sorts of drugs, both legal and illegal, including many prescription drugs.

Possible Penalties for DUI Drugs

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Not less than 10 consecutive days in jail (9 days may be suspended if the driver completes court-ordered drug or alcohol screening). A class 1 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail.
  • Fines in excess of $1,500
  • 90 day license suspension
  • May be ordered to perform (can apply for restricted license after 90 days)
  • community service (restitution)
  • Alcohol or drug screening
  • Attend Traffic Survival School
  • 8 points on the driver’s license
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

When there is no alcohol involved in the DUI, an ignition interlock device is not required, however the court has the discretion to order that a driver install an ignition interlock device.

If the driver had a prior DUI conviction of any variety in the preceding 7 years, there will be additional penalties:

  • Not less than 90 days in jail, 30 of which must be served consecutively. Up to 60 days may be suspended.
  • About $3,000 in additional fines
  • 1-year license suspension (may be able to get a restricted license after 45 days).
  • 30 hours of community service


Extreme DUI with BAC .15 or more, but less than .20

If your BAC is .15 or more, but less than .20 within two hours of driving or being in physical control of a vehicle, you could be charged with an Extreme DUI.

The language of the law, set forth in A.R.S. 28-1382(A)(1) is:

A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle: 0.15 or more but less than 0.20.

The consequences for an Extreme DUI are much more severe than for a standard DUI. For example, while a driver may only end up doing a single day in jail for a standard DUI, a driver convicted of an Extreme DUI is going to serve a minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail.

Possible Penalties for an Extreme DUI

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Not less than 30 consecutive days in jail. All but 9 days may be suspended. A class 1 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail.
  • Fines and costs in excess of $5,000
  • 90 day license suspension. A restricted license is available after 30 days.
  • May be ordered to perform community service (restitution)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months or more
  • Alcohol or drug screening
  • Attend Traffic Survival School
  • 8 points on the driver’s license
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

If the driver had a prior DUI conviction in the preceding 7 years, there will be additional penalties:

  • Not less than 120 days in jail.
  • About $4,000 in additional fines (making the total fines about $9,000).
  • At least a 1-year license suspension (may be able to get a restricted license after 45 days).
  • At least 30 hours of community service

Extreme DUI with BAC of .20 or more (a.k.a. Super Extreme DUI)

If your BAC is .20 or more within two hours of driving or being in physical control of a vehicle, you could be charged with an Extreme DUI of .20 or more, also known as a Super Extreme DUI.

The language of the law, set forth in A.R.S. 28-1382(A)(2) is:

A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle: 0.20 or more.

The consequences for a Super Extreme DUI are much more severe than for a standard DUI. For example, while a driver may only end up doing a single day in jail for a standard DUI, a driver convicted of a Super Extreme DUI is going to serve a minimum of 45 consecutive days in jail.

Possible Penalties for a Super Extreme DUI

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Not less than 45 consecutive days in jail. All but 14 days may be suspended. A class 1 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail.
  • Fines and costs in excess of $7,000
  • 90 day license suspension. A restricted license is available after 30 days.
  • May be ordered to perform community service (restitution)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months or more
  • Alcohol or drug screening
  • Attend Traffic Survival School
  • 8 points on the driver’s license
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

If the driver had a prior DUI conviction in the preceding 7 years, there will be additional penalties:

  • Not less than 180 days in jail. Home detention may be possible for a portion of this.
  • About $5,000 in additional fines (making the total fines about $12,000).
  • At least a 1-year license suspension (may be able to get a restricted license after 45 days).
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 2 years.
  • At least 30 hours of community service

Facing a DUI?

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