I have been charged with a DUI. What comes next?

You probably already know that DUI Arizona DUI laws are tough. In fact, an Arizona DUI carries some of the most stringent penalties in the nation. First time offenders face mandatory incarceration of up to 45 days in jail. This number only increases for those with a history of similar driving offenses. Additional penalties include monetary fines and installation of ignition interlock devices. While a charge of DUI or DWI should never be taken lightly, the steps you take immediately following your DUI charge may minimize these penalties.

If you are charged with DUI in Arizona, we strongly recommend consulting with an experienced criminal attorney to review the facts of your case and determine:

  • What are the specific charges faced
  • What penalties may arise from such charges
  • Was the arrest legal and were your rights maintained throughout
  • What will happen to you driver’s license
  • Are there any deals to be made with the prosecution

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

We have already established that driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona can lead to serious legal consequences. However, the terminology is often confusing. Individuals caught operating a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) may face one of two similar charges described under A.R.S. §28-1381.

Driving while intoxicated, often referred to by the acronym DWI, is one such charge. Defined under section A(2) of the above statute, DWI refers to driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater within a time period of 2 hours of driving a car. This prohibited time period means that you can be charged with DWI even if your BAC falls below 0.08% at the time of testing.

Alternately, DUI refers to driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug and does not require a specific BAC to be recorded. This means that you can be charged with DUI even without breathalyzer results. Such charges can be based on suspicious driving activities or mental condition alone.

How do breathalyzer results and BAC influence my DUI?

DUI: 0.08% BAC – In Arizona, the charge associated with a BAC less than 0.15% is likely ‘standard’ DUI. First-time offenders convicted of this charge will face penalties including:

  • Mandatory period of incarceration from 10* days to 6 months (*Note: 9 days can be suspended upon completion of alcohol screening  classes)
  • Fines totaling a minimum of approximately $1250
  • Alcohol screening courses
  • A minimum 1 year or more of interlock ignition device screening with associated charges

Extreme DUI: 0.15% – In Arizona, the charge associated with a BAC of 0.15% but less than 0.20% is likely ‘extreme’ DUI. First-time offenders convicted of this charge will face more significant penalties including:

  • A minimum period of incarceration of 30 days. In locations, none of this time can be suspended and you will serve all 30 days
  • A minimum fine of approximately $2500
  • Mandatory alcohol classes
  • Revocation of your license by the MVD
  • 1 year or more of ignition interlock device on your vehicle once license is reinstated
  • Restrictions on alcohol for a period of 30 days or more with a continuous alcohol monitoring device or telephonic breath testing device

DUI / DWI: 0.20% BAC – In Arizona, the charge associated with a BAC at or above 0.20% is likely ‘super extreme’ DUI. First-time offenders convicted of this charge will face the most severe penalties including:

  • Mandatory period of incarceration of at least 45 days. In many locations, you will be expected to serve the entire sentence in jail
  • Fines amounting to $2750 or more
  • 36+ hours of alcohol classes
  • A period of license revocation
  • 18 months with ignition interlock device installed on your car and all associated costs
  • Restrictions on alcohol consumption monitored by a continuous alcohol monitoring device or telephonic breath testing device for 90 days or more