Similar to other states, Arizona prohibits "driving under the influence" (DUI), which basically means operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In Arizona, a DUI is generally a misdemeanor. But there are five factors that can elevate an Arizona DUI to a felony. This article outlines these factors as well as the possible penalties of a conviction.
A felony DUI will generally be a level four felony and can carry up to three years in prison. A conviction typically carries up to three years in prison and at least $4,000 in fines and fees. The convicted motorist will also be facing a minimum one-year license revocation, followed by at least two years with an ignition interlock device (IID). The offender may be required to complete substance abuse treatment prior to license reinstatement. The offender's vehicle is subject to forfeiture.
An impaired driver can be charged with a level four felony if operating on a license that was suspended or revoked due to a prior DUI occurrence. The offender can be sentenced to up to three years in prison and must serve at least four months before release.
A third DUI occurrence in an 84-month period will also be considered a level four felony. A conviction will result in up to three years in prison with a four-month minimum sentence. A fourth or subsequent DUI in an 84-month period will require the offender to serve a minimum of eight months in prison before release.
A person driving under the influence while transporting a child under the age of 15 will be guilty of a class six felony and face up to 18 months in prison.
An impaired driver will also face felony charges if he or she is currently required to use an ignition interlock device. This type of offense is a level four felony and will result in 18 months to three years in prison.
In the event an impaired driver is going the wrong way down a one-way highway, the DUI charge can be elevated to a level four felony. A conviction will result in up to three years in prison with a mandatory four months in prison before probationary release.
In addition to the designated felony DUI categories already discussed, a DUI that results in injury or death can lead to felony charges. For example, causing a fatality while DUI can result in a separate felony charge of "vehicular homicide while under the influence." A conviction carries up to 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
If you've been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona, especially if it's a felony, you need legal assistance. Contact a knowledgeable DUI attorney in your area who can help you. A qualified DUI lawyer can tell you how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.