Phoenix, AZ DUI Attorneys
Arizona has the harshest DUI laws in the country. Arizona is a zero-tolerance state, which means that you can be charged under the DUI statute even if your blood alcohol is below the legal limit if an officer believes you are impaired.
All a DUI charge requires is that you are operating a vehicle while under the influence. This covers a wide range of scenarios. “Vehicles” can include boats, golf carts, bicycles, and electric scooters. And “under the influence” means more than just alcohol. If you are using unprescribed prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or even marijuana, you can be hit with an impaired driving charge. See our page Prop 207 and Expungement for more information on driving under the influence of marijuana.
Let’s break down the basics of what your BAC means for your court case under A.R.S. §28-1381 and A.R.S. §28-1382.
- Under .05- there is a presumption you were not intoxicated
- .05-.079- look at the weight of the evidence of intoxication or lack thereof
- .08- .149- Standard DUI
- .15-.19- Extreme DUI
- .20+ – Super Extreme DUI
If you are driving a commercial vehicle, then any BAC above a .04 will result in a DUI.
Each of these classifications carry different ranges for charges and amount of time in jail. For example, your first Standard DUI will land you 10 days in County Jail, a fine, your license being suspended for three months. This punishment jumps up to 90 days in jail, double the amount in fines, and the potential for court mandated classes or supervision on your second offense. As you increase your blood alcohol or number of offenses, the punishments become more severe.
Arizona also has something called Aggravated DUI under A.R.S. §28-1383. This type of DUI is charged when there are “aggravating” circumstances in a DUI case like:
- A child under the age of 15 in the vehicle
- Multiple DUIs across the last 7 years
- Driving without a license
- Damage to persons or property
- Failing to install an interlock device from your last DUI
- Wrong way driving
Unlike Standard or Extreme DUIs, an Aggravated DUI must be charged as a felony. This means the greater possibility of jail time, steeper fines, and the potential to lose certain rights such as being able to own a fire arm.
If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important that you contact an experienced Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible. They can help you collect evidence
DUIs: License Suspension
In Arizona, there are two types of license suspension- Admin Per Se and Implied Consent suspensions.
Admin Per Se:
What is Admin Per Se consent?
Admin Per Se is the standard procedure. You took a breathalyzer test or provided a blood sample and tested over the legal limit. Or, through field or lab testing, your blood revealed any trace of drugs or marijuana
What are the outcomes?
You will have a suspended license for up to 90 days, unless the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reduces your sentence.
How can I reduce the ADOT sentence?
First, you can request to “stay the sentence” until you have your ADOT hearing. This means you can still drive until you attend this sentence, which typically takes place 15 days after the incident.
Once at the hearing, your attorney can provide evidence to get the suspension dismissed or reduced to as little as 30 days for first time offenders. Your lawyer may also request that the suspension be served during a specified time period.
One caveat in requesting your Admin Per Se consent withdrawn is the potential consequences down the line. If found guilty of DUI in the criminal proceeding, the charges may carry a tougher punishment than if you allow the Admin Per Se consent to remain in place. This is a fact specific finding, so speak with a lawyer so you understand all of your options before you proceed.
What is Implied Consent?
Implied Consent means that after an officer read you the Admin Per Se statement, but you still refused to undergo a breath or blood test. This does not mean that the officers will let you go without either of these tests. The Officer will obtain a warrant for your blood. Lab technicians will then use a formula to determine what your BAC would have been at the point of police contact.
The Officer needs to provide adequate instructions before proceeding with this route. They must read you the Admin Per Se consent agreement and advise you of the consequences for choosing to proceed with implied consent. Because implied consent carries significantly more restrictions, it is imperative that the Officer provided you with all of the information. If you believe the Officer failed to provide you with adequate warning, speak with an attorney about requesting body camera footage.
What are the outcomes?
Your license may be suspended for up to one year. Like with Admin Per Se Consent, you may request a hearing with ADOT.
How can I reduce the ADOT sentence?
You could potentially reduce the 1 year suspension to as little as 90 days. However, the remaining 9 months would be under certain driving restrictions. Under some circumstances, an attorney can help you dismiss this suspension.
Other things to consider
If you previously had a DUI charge involving Implied Consent within the last 84 months, your license will likely be suspended for 2 years instead of just 1.
Your suspension could result in the need to carry “high risk” SR-22 insurance. This is either a certificate from your car insurance company or a $40,000 bond with the Arizona Office of the Treasurer assuring you have this insurance. This insurance must be maintained for three years.
The terms for reinstatement may also include using an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID requires drivers to blow into a mouthpiece before it will turn on the car’s ignition. Most sentences carry between 1-2 years of IID installation. See below for IID providers.
There are many defenses for DUIs depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI. An officer needs reasonable suspicion to pull a vehicle over (unless at a DUI checkpoint). There are also a series of procedures an Officer must follow during a DUI stop to respect your rights and ensure fairness in the process. There are a whole host of potential issues with testing, interviewing, and evidence collection that could cast reasonable doubt on your case. These defenses are fact intensive, which is why consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is important.