Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in the State of Arizona. If you were intoxicated while behind the wheel, you may face jail time and the loss of your driving privileges. Arizona DUI laws outline definitions for various DUI charges along with their potential consequences. The charges you receive depend on your level of intoxication and the damage that results from any accidents you caused during your DUI.
It is important to know and understand Arizona DUI laws in order to be fully aware of what can take place if you are pulled over for a suspected DUI.
When you apply for a driver’s license and gain the privilege to operate a vehicle in the State of Arizona, you give your consent for the state to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if an officer pulls you over under suspicion of a DUI. Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-1321 defines the scope of this implied consent. A police officer who pulls you over can test your BAC and/or perform drug screening via your blood, breath, or urine. Breathalyzers are the most common method for testing for the presence of alcohol in your system. Should you refuse to take the test, you will lose your driving privilege for 12 months.
Arizona enforces a zero-tolerance policy for DUIs, outlined in ARS 28-1381. This means that an officer can charge and arrest you even if your blood alcohol concentration is lower than the legal limit of .08. This law is in place in order to ensure that drivers who are showing signs of intoxication below the legal limit can be held accountable. If your results demonstrate a BAC lower than .08, your officer will make the decision whether or not they will charge you. This depends on whether or not they have evidence that you were impaired while operating the vehicle.
Under Arizona DUI laws, the consequences for a DUI charge increase with each subsequent offense. Additional penalties may also apply due to other factors that make the crime more severe. Jail time for a DUI begins at 10 days and can go up to two years. After your first offense, a certified ignition interlock will be installed by the Department of Motor Vehicles into your automobile. This device connects to your vehicle’s ignition and will prevent your vehicle from starting should you blow a BAC of .02 or higher.
Under certain circumstances, law enforcement may charge you with an aggravated DUI, which comes with more severe consequences. This charge is not dependent on your BAC level, but instead is based on the circumstances surrounding your offense. You may be charged with an aggravated DUI if this is your third DUI in seven years, if a passenger 15 years of age or younger was in the vehicle with you, or if injuries were caused due to your negligence and intoxication. An aggravated DUI conviction is a felony and can have a huge impact on your life.
Arizona DUI laws are some of the harshest in the country. It is important to fully understand the potential consequences of driving with alcohol or drugs in your system. These laws are not enacted solely to punish you, but rather to protect the lives of others. Being aware of the applicable laws can help you understand what could take place should you be pulled over for a DUI.