Arizona law prohibits driving “[w]hile under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree." A first time offender is subject to a minimum 24 hour sentence in jail. Note that some first time offenders may be subject to different penalties, as Arizona does account for extreme DUI (BAC higher than 0.15 at time of driving), as well as other associated charges with DUI cases, such as refusals to submit, possession of controlled substances, violations of zero tolerance laws (for minors), and other case-specific charges, which may enhance penalties associated with a given first offense DUI charge.
- Drivers arrested for first offense DUI face administrative license suspension of ninety (90) days, possibly enforced prior to any conviction in criminal courts. Disputing the impending suspension is an integral component of any DUI defense.
- Drivers may be required to utilize ignition interlock devices, but often, these devices are used as a compromise to regain one’s license, often under a hardship based agreement.
- Drivers arrested for DUI must undergo alcohol and substance abuse screening, and if mandated by the courts or possibly as part of a DUI defense effort, may be required to undergo ongoing alcohol or substance abuse counseling or in-patient treatment.
- Mandatory incarceration of at least twenty-four (24) hours following conviction for first offense DUI in Arizona. Generally, courts recognize time served during initial arrest and booking process. Maximum incarceration period allotted by state statute for first offense stands at ten (10) days.
- Any conviction remains on record, in terms of influencing future or subsequent DUI criminal cases, for a period of seven (7) years.
- Fines, fees, and various surcharges of around $1,600, but offender likely to incur additional expenses in process of completing sentence, if involving alternative sentencing in lieu of incarceration.
Getting Legal Help
State statutes expressly prohibit reduction of DUI/DWI charge in Arizona to lesser offense, but in terms of sentencing, criminal defense lawyers have significant room to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. This tactic is employed only once a case is viewed as one not subject to dismissal on a variety of grounds. For more information and insight, consult with an Arizona DUI lawyer.