Thrush Law Office:
SUMMARY OF ARIZONA'S DUI LAWS
There are two different classifications of drinking and driving offenses. First, it is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor, or any combination thereof. Second, it is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or more within two hours of driving. These are separate charges. A driver can be charged with one or both. Usually, if a driver submits to a chemical test which results in an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, he/she will be charged with both offenses. If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test and none is performed nonconsensually, he/she will only be charged with driving under the influence (assuming the officer has enough evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest). A person charged and convicted of one or both of the aforementioned is guilty of a class one misdemeanor.
Substance Abuse Screening
If convicted, a first time offender must complete an alcohol abuse screening. If the court or the screening facility determines that the offender has a substance abuse problem, the court may order the offender to obtain counseling, education, or treatment. If the offender has the financial resources to pay all or part of the screening, counseling, education, or treatment, then the court shall order him/her to do so. All programs must be approved by the Department of Health Services.
Arizona Penalties For DUI - First Time Offender
The statute requires the court to sentence a first time offender to serve not less than ten consecutive days in jail. However, the court may suspend all but twenty-four consecutive hours of the sentence if the offender completes an alcohol abuse screening. Since the statute stipulates consecutive hours the court cannot give credit for any time served on the day of the arrest.
The statutes also require a fine of not less than four hundred twenty-five dollars plus administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order the offender to perform up to forty hours of community service and attend a class sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, known as the Victim Impact Panel. Usually the offender will also be placed on twelve months of probation as well.
Penalties For a Second Offense
A person convicted of a second DUI offense within sixty months of the first, or a first offense and has previously been convicted in another state for a first offense that complies with an Arizona law, is guilty of a class one misdemeanor. The dates of commission of the offenses are the dispositive dates in determining the sixty-month period. A second-time offender is subject to the same sanctions as a first-time offender regarding an alcohol screening, counseling, education, treatment, and payment.
The statute requires the court to sentence a second-time offender to serve not less than ninety days in jail. The court may suspend all but thirty days of the sentence if the person completes a court-ordered alcohol screening, counseling, education, and treatment program. If the person fails to follow through with counseling, education, or treatment, the court will issue an order compelling the person to show cause why the remaining sixty days should not be served. Thirty days must be served consecutively unless the sentence includes a provision for work release, which is discussed below; then the requirement is reduced to forty-eight consecutive hours. The statute requires a fine of not less than eight hundred dollars plus administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order community service, the Victim Impact Panel, and supervised probation.
Work Release Programs
First and second-time offenders are eligible for work release. Whether or not a personās sentence will include work release is left to the discretion of the court. If a person is employed or is a student, the court may permit the person to be released from jail only long enough to complete the actual hours of employment or studies, up to twelve hours per day, and not more than five days per week. However, a first time offender cannot commence a work release program until he/she has served at least twenty-four consecutive hours in jail. Likewise, a second time offender must serve at lease forty-eight hours in jail before a work release program may begin.
Second time offenders may also be eligible for home arrest. There are several requirements that must be satisfied before a person may be accepted into this program. Begin working on satisfying those requirements well before the time of sentencing. The probation departmentās approval is necessary before the court will place someone in the home arrest program. The home arrest sentence will include forty-eight consecutive hours in jail, thirteen days on work release, and forty-five days of home detention. The person will be allowed to leave the home to work, attend school, or attend treatment.
Aggravated DUI - Class IV Felony
A person convicted of an aggravated drinking and driving offense is guilty of a class four felony. Either driving under the influence or driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more will be considered an aggravated offense if it is committed while the personās license is suspended, canceled, revoked, refused, or restricted, and the state can prove that the person knew the status of his or her driving privileges. Likewise, if a person is convicted and has been previously convicted of two prior drinking and driving offenses in Arizona, or in any other state where the law complies with Arizona law, with all of these offenses occurring within sixty months, the last conviction will result in an aggravated sentence. The dates of commission of the offenses are the dispositive dates in determining the sixty month period.
Penalties For Aggravated DUI
An aggravated sentence includes a minimum of four months in prison. Probation, suspension of sentence, or release on any other basis is not available until the person serves at least four months.
The sentence will also include up to ten years supervised probation and alcohol screening, counseling, education, and treatment. If the person fails to complete the screening, counseling, education, or treatment the court may resentence the person to an additional term ranging from four months to one year. Should the personās probation be revoked he/she will not receive any credit for the time served when re-sentencing occurs. The court may also impose a fine up to one hundred fifty thousand dollars.
A person convicted of either driving under the influence or driving with a blood alcohol content of .10 or more who has three or more prior convictions within the last sixty months is guilty of a class four felony. The sentence will be similar to the one stated above in that the person must serve a minimum of four months in prison. However, if this person does not complete any court ordered alcohol screening, counseling, education, or treatment the court may resentence him/her to an additional term ranging from eight to twelve years. If a person is convicted of an aggravated drinking and driving offense, the court, in addition to all of the aforementioned sanctions, may order the motor vehicle owned and operated by the person at the time of the offense forfeited in the same manner as provided under Title 13, Chapter 39.
Extreme DUI - First Offense
It is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .15 or more. Any person convicted of extreme DUI shall be sentenced to serve not less than thirty consecutive days in jail; to pay a fine of at least $400.00 plus assessments and administrative costs; to complete an alcohol screening and treatment; and may be ordered to complete community service. Under certain circumstances the court may reduce the jail time to ten consecutive days.
Extreme DUI - Second Offense
If any person is convicted of extreme DUI and has previously been convicted of extreme DUI or a non-extreme DUI, then the court shall order a jail term of 120 days of which 60 shall be served consecutively. Probation or a suspension of the jail term is not available unless the entire sentence is served. The court will also order a fine of at least $800.00 plus assessments and administrative costs; an alcohol screening and treatment; a revocation of driving privileges for one year; and may order community service.
If any person is convicted of extreme DUI or aggravated DUI, then the court may order the installation of an interlock device on any vehicle to be operated by that person. An interlock device connects a breathalyzer to the vehicleās ignition system. The device will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the driver blows into the device and the personās alcohol concentration is below a preset level. The costs for installation and maintenance shall be paid by the driver, and the court may order it to be used from one to three years. The driver will also be required to show proof of compliance and proof of inspection for accuracy at least once each calendar year.