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Paul D. Cramm

What You Should Know About Arizona DUI Laws


Criminal conviction for DUI is a serious matter in Arizona, where laws for DUI are considered the strictest in the nation. Of course, DUI also poses significant risk to public safety. If you live or drive in the state of Arizona, you need to understand these laws to protect yourself, should you be pulled over for DUI.

Types of DUI charges that can be brought in Arizona include:

  • Impaired to the Slightest Degree
  • 08 percent BAC or greater
  • 15 percent BAC or greater
  • 20 percent BAC or greater
  • Drug DUI
  • Underage DUI
  • Commercial Drivers DUI – 0.04 percent BAC or greater
  • Aggravated Felony DUI – under revoked or suspended driver’s license
  • Aggravated Felony DUI – 3rd DUI within 84 months
  • Aggravated Felony DUI – with passenger under age of 15 in vehicle

Arizona law states it is unlawful for a driver to drive or have actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, any drug, vapor releasing toxic substance, or any combination thereof. This means you can be charged with DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher within two hours of driving or having actual physical control of your vehicle.

Although Arizona’s legal limit is 0.08 percent, you may also be found guilty of DUI if you are driving or in actual physical control of your vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs. This means that you may be convicted of DUI if you are driving below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. You may also be found guilty if you have not been drinking at all, but have used legal or illegal drugs to impairment to the slightest degree. This is why it is crucial to contact a DUI lawyer immediately after being arrested for DUI/DWI.

Possible Criminal Penalties for Arizona DUI

If you are convicted of a non-extreme misdemeanor DUI for the first time, you face the following criminal penalties:

  • No less than 10 consecutive days in jail
  • No eligibility for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until entire sentence is served
  • Fines of no less than $250
  • Additional $500 assessment
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months in personal vehicle(s)
  • Possible community service hours
  • Alcohol and drug screening requirements
  • Alcohol and drug education and treatment

If your DUI charges stem from drugged driving, you are subject to the same penalties as alcohol DUI but are not mandatorily required to install a certified ignition interlock device (IID). This decision is now at the discretion of the court for drug cases, while it is still mandatory for alcohol cases.

Arizona has zero tolerance for underage drinking. Persons under age 21 may be charged with DUI if they have any alcohol whatsoever in their system while driving.  All of the above penalties apply to an under-21 DUI driver, in addition to two year suspension of driving priviliges.

If the DUI charge involves aggravated factors, Felony DUI is the resulting offense. These aggravating circumstances include driving while your license is suspended, revoked or invalid. Additional aggravating factors include driving with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, causing severe injury or fatality to someone else, or a third DUI in 84 months.

If your BAC levels violate Arizona’s Extreme DUI laws but there are no aggravating factors, your charges are still a misdemeanor DUI but carry longer jail sentencing and larger fines.

Prison is a possibility with all Felony DUI charges in Arizona. Sentences range from ten days to eight months in prison. Fines, assessments and fees are also higher, averaging $4000.

Other penalties of Felony DUI include:

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 24 months in personal vehicle(s)
  • Revoked driver’s license for one year
  • Felony criminal record
  • Possible forfeiture of vehicle
  • Possible community service hours
  • Alcohol and drug screening requirements
  • Alcohol and drug education and treatment

What to Do after Your Arizona DUI Arrest

If you have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, it is important to contact a DUI attorney in Phoenix. Your rights must be protected and you need a lawyer to avoid conviction.

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.

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