Understanding AZ DUI penalties

People who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking in Arizona may be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. If convicted, a DUI charge can have a major impact on peoples' lives. Not only can it affect a person's ability to find employment, but it can make it difficult to get a professional license or be approved for financial funding. In an attempt to prevent people from drinking and driving, state officials have enacted legislation penalizing people who engage in this dangerous act.

Blood alcohol content

Law enforcement officers measure drivers' blood alcohol content level in order to determine whether they are legally intoxicated. The legal limit in Arizona and in any other state in the nation is 0.08 percent. If drivers have a BAC level that is at this level or higher, they may be convicted of a DUI. Drivers may lose their driver's licenses for 12 to 24 months if they refuse to cooperate in taking breath tests or submitting to other testing procedures.

A look at the penalties

Drivers will receive penalties based upon their BAC level as well as whether they have committed any previous DUI offenses. When people have a BAC level that measures 0.15 percent or higher, they are considered extreme DUI offenders and face more stringent penalties. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, DUI penalties include the following:

  • First-time offense: Receive a fine of at least $1,250 and spend at least 10 days in jail.
  • Two or more offenses: Receive a minimum fine of $3,000 and spend at least 90 days in jail. Driver's licenses will be suspended for at least 12 months.
  • First extreme offense: Spend at least 30 days in jail and pay a minimum fine of $2,500.
  • Two or more extreme offenses: Pay a fine of at least $3,250 and spend a minimum of 90 days in jail. Driver's license is suspended for 12 months.

All offenders must undergo counseling on alcohol abuse and perform community service. In addition, all offenders must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. This allows them to drive to work and school, but will require them to submit a breath sample before the car will start.

Keeping your record clean

If you have been charged with a DUI, you may feel scared and overwhelmed at the prospect of spending time in jail or having your driver's license suspended. A criminal attorney who understands how the DUI process works in Arizona may be extremely helpful. Not only are they there to answer your legal questions, but lawyers can dissect the details involved in your case and help determine the best course of action.