DUI in Arizona

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. 

This page discusses DUI in the slightest and DUI with .08 BAC and above.

We have pages discussing other types of DUIs that can be found here.

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 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.

A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1)

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
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

Additional Penalties for a Second Offense DUI in the Slightest

If a driver had a prior DUI of any kind, or even a BUI, in the prior 7 years, they face additional penalties including:

  • 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 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: 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.

A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(2)

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
  • SR-22 Insurance Certificate requirement for 3 years.

Additional Penalties for a Second Offense DUI .08 and above

If a driver had a prior DUI of any kind, or even a BUI, in the prior 7 years, they face additional penalties including:

  • 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

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