An Arizona DUI carries some of the toughest consequences in the country. That may be why there’s a good amount of misinformation out there; it seems like nearly anything could be true.
It also doesn’t help that, though there’s a lot of information available regarding Arizona’s DUI laws, it’s spread out across a variety of sites and pages. That’s why the team at Edwards & Petersen put together this comprehensive Arizona DUI resource.
Create a Written Record of Your Arrest
As soon as possible, write down everything you can remember about your arrest, including what you did in the hours leading up to your arrest. You may think you’ll never forget what happened that day, but memory is incredibly unreliable, which means you need to do this as soon as you’re able. Don’t forget, the police have their report.
Include every detail you can remember, including where you were earlier in the day, what you had to drink, what time you had your last drink, how fast you were driving when you were pulled over, where you pulled over, and everything the officer said. It’s also important to include photographs in your written record, so as soon as you’re able, return to the scene and take photos from multiple locations.
Talk to an Arizona DUI Attorney
Even if your BAC exceeded the legal limit (0.08), a conviction is not a given. Talk to an Arizona DUI lawyer. Attorneys like Edwards & Petersen offer a free consultation to discuss your case, so you truly have nothing to lose.
Prepare for this meeting by gathering all of your paperwork, including your written record. Your attorney needs as much information as possible to properly advise you on your case. The sooner you make this appointment, the better. You face numerous deadlines after an Arizona DUI arrest.
What Happens with Your Driver’s License?
Upon your release, you receive a variety of paperwork. Review this carefully, as it contains a lot of important information.
One document that many drivers miss states that, 15 days after their arrest, they face a 90-day license suspension. This paperwork includes instructions on how you may challenge this suspension. Either you or your attorney can request an administrative hearing, but you need to work quickly as there is a strict deadline to request this hearing.
If you refused the chemical test at the DUI processing site, you automatically lose your license for 12 months. This is one of the reasons Edwards & Petersen recommends always submitting to this request, despite the fact that Arizona DUI law does not require it. The other reason is that, once the officer obtains a search warrant, he or she conducts the test anyway. If this is your second refusal in 84 months, you face a 24-month suspension of driving privileges.
What Are the Requirements for License Reinstatement after an Arizona DUI Conviction?
First, you have to complete alcohol screening through a Department of Health-approved facility. This screening consists of an interview with a behavioral health specialist who then makes recommendations based on this consultation.
You then complete Arizona DUI education courses for a minimum of 16 hours. You can complete this training at the same facility as your screening, or you may choose a different location.
Based on the screener’s feedback, you may also need to attend counseling. Check out the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners to find a licensed, authorized counselor.
You also need to attend Traffic Survival School. This is not the same thing as the defensive driving course many drivers take to protect their license from collecting “points” after receiving a ticket for a moving violation. Traffic Survival School is required for violations the state deems especially dangerous, including DUI and running a red light.
What are the Penalties for a Guilty Verdict?
An Arizona DUI conviction carries a wide variety of penalties. Severity depends on your BAC level, prior DUI history, and other aggravating and mitigating factors, such as whether anyone was hurt.
You face a standard DUI charge if your BAC level rests between 0.08 and 0.15. If you are under the age of 21, you face DUI charges for any amount of alcohol in your system, and if you were driving a commercial vehicle, anything over 0.04 is deemed DUI.
For a first offense, you face a minimum sentence of 10 consecutive days in jail, plus a minimum fine of $1,250. You must also attend alcohol screening, drug and alcohol awareness classes, suspension of driving privileges, and must install an interlock ignition device (IID) at your own expense. You may also be ordered to complete community service.
Subsequent offenses in an 84-month period (7 years) carry a minimum sentence of 90 days and minimum fines of $3,000. Alcohol screening and education and/or treatment are also required. In addition, your driver’s license will be revoked for 12 months and you must install an IID on your vehicle once your license is reinstated. Community service may also be required.
If you have a blood alcohol concentration over 0.15, the charge is Extreme DUI.
For a first offense, you face a minimum sentence of 30 consecutive days in jail, plus a minimum fine of $2,500. You must also attend alcohol screening, drug and alcohol awareness classes, suspension of driving privileges, and must install an IID at your own expense. You may also be ordered to complete community service
Subsequent offenses in an 84-month period carry a minimum sentence of 120 days and minimum fines of $3,250. Alcohol screening and education and/or treatment are also required. In addition, your driver’s license will be revoked for 12 months and you must install an IID on your vehicle once your license is reinstated. Community service may also be required.
If you commit DUI while driving on a suspended or revoked license, commit DUI while still under an IID requirement, commit three DUIs in an 84-month period, or commit DUI with a passenger under the age of 15, you face Aggravated DUI charges.
In addition to all of the above DUI penalties, you face a maximum sentence of 24 months, with a minimum sentence of 4 months and minimum fines of $4,000.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
Commonly referred to as an IID, an ignition interlock device attaches to your vehicle and works like a breathalyzer. A DUI conviction typically carries a 12-month IID requirement, but may extend to two years (more common with multiple convictions and Aggravated DUI). Ignition Interlock FAQ’s
The device requires you to blow into it before starting your vehicle. If it detects any trace of alcohol, the vehicle will not start. In addition, you must blow into the device at random intervals while operating the vehicle (this guards against having someone else blow into the IID in order to start the vehicle).
If the court orders installation of an IID, you must go to a state-authorized vendor for installation, who then provides proof of installation to the MVD. The IID requirement begins within 30 days of your license reinstatement. There is a monthly charge for the device, and the cost of the IID is the responsibility of the driver.
Arizona law addresses workarounds, as well. For example, if you’re caught driving a different vehicle while under an IID requirement, conviction carries a penalty of an additional 12 month IID requirement. If you do not have a vehicle at the time your license is eligible for reinstatement, your license suspension remains in effect until you are able to install an IID and resume driving.
If your DUI is the result of an intoxicating substance other than alcohol, you still have an IID requirement. Finally, if you live in or move to another state, Arizona still demands fulfillment of the IID requirement.
Getting Your Driver’s License Reinstated
The state does not automatically reinstate your driver’s license after an Arizona DUI conviction; you must take action first. Requirements may vary, but expect to submit clearance documents from the court and pay the application and reinstatement fees. You may need to pass a new driver’s license test as well. Finally, reinstatement of your driver’s license after a DUI conviction typically requires providing proof of auto insurance. Therefore, you need to submit an SR22 form, which verifies that you carry the minimum insurance requirements. This is due in part to the fact that nearly every insurance carrier increases rates significantly after a DUI (around $150 per month for 18 months). The SR22 verifies your ability to maintain your auto insurance. You get this document from your insurance carrier.
Seeking Legal Advice
Though you’re on a tight timeline, take a moment to breathe and remember: we are all innocent until proven guilty. These are serious charges, with serious consequences, but your life can return to normal. Take advantage of the free consultation.
Resources for the actual laws and regulations defining DUI in Arizona include:
- The Arizona Department of Public Safety offers information regarding Arizona DUI laws
- Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381 pertains to Standard DUI
- Arizona Revised Statute 28-1382 pertains to Extreme DUI
- Arizona Revised Statute 28-1383 pertains to Aggravated DUI
The state also provides a variety of resources, such as MVD hours, locations for alcohol screening, and much more.
- MVD Hours and Locations
- Ignition Interlock Device information from the MVD
- Behavioral Health Professional Directory
- Screening, Treatment, and Education Facilities
Regardless of where you live, your court appearances occur in the municipality in which you were charged.
- Chandler Municipal Court
- Flagstaff Municipal Court
- Gilbert Municipal Court
- Glendale City Court
- Maricopa County Court
- Mesa Municipal Court
- Peoria Municipal Court
- Phoenix Municipal Court
- Prescott Consolidated Courts
- Scottsdale City Court
- Sedona Municipal Court
- Surprise City Court
- Tempe City Court
- Tucson City Court