DUI Laws in Arizona

Mesa Arizona police officer calling in a dui warrantDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense that carries a range of stiff penalties (seen on our DUI consequences page). These penalties are meted out, in part, by the state’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and its Department of Transportation (DOT).

Although the specific punishment depends on the circumstances of your conviction, jail time is mandatory in the state of Arizona even for first offenders, and the financial and long-term ramifications can be extremely damaging.

DUI Classifications

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the measurement used to determine if are driving under the influence. There are several different DUI charges.

  • Standard DUI: If found operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, you may be charged with a DUI. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the limit falls to 0.04 percent, and if you are under the age of 21, a BAC level above zero constitutes a DUI.
  • Extreme DUI: This charge applies if your BAC level is 0.15 percent or over.
  • Super Extreme DUI: Arizona is one of a handful of states in the country with the Super Extreme DUI classification. This charge applies if your BAC level is 0.20 percent or above.
  • Aggravated DUI: This charge applies if it is your third DUI offense within a seven-year period, if you have a passenger younger than 15 years of age in the vehicle while driving under the influence, or if you commit the offense while on a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

Why You Need Legal Representation

Since a DUI conviction can lead to huge fines, jail time, a substantial rise in auto insurance premiums, and possible unemployment, there is too much at stake to accept the charges and the accompanying punishment without a fight.

A DUI charge does not necessarily mean you are guilty. However, given the state’s stance on the issue, you need an experienced DUI attorney in Arizona to help you get the best possible outcome. A number of ways exist in which a legal team can have a DUI charge thrown out.

For starters, it is important to know that the onus is on the prosecution to prove you are guilty of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. As this is the highest burden of proof, the case against you needs to be very strong. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, consider the following questions:

  1. Did the arresting officer give you a proper field sobriety test?
  2. Did he/she correctly administer the breathalyzer test?
  3. Did weather conditions affect your results?
  4. Were you pulled over for swerving or weaving?
  5. Did the arresting officer provide you with a reasonable explanation as to why he/she pulled you over in the first place?
  6. Are there any errors on the DUI ticket?
  7. Did the arresting officer read you your Miranda rights?

Mounting a DUI Defense

DUI field sobriety testRemember that performing a field sobriety test is voluntary. Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable, so it is in your best interests to refuse. However, you do need to submit to a blood, urine or breath test upon request or else face immediate arrest. It is also important not to discuss any aspect of the arrest; in other words, utilize your right to remain silent! Get in contact with a DUI attorney in Arizona as soon as possible to begin the process of defending yourself.

Here are four circumstances that could result in a dropped DUI charge:

  1. You Were Not in Control of the Vehicle: In rare cases, you could be arrested on suspicion of DUI even if you were not the driver. The police may misidentify the driver or simply be unable to prove the driver’s identity upon arriving to a scene a bit late.
  2. The BAC Reading is Wrong: Breath and blood tests typically determine whether you are over the limit, but they both have limitations. Occasionally, your BAC may be lower than 0.08 percent at the time of the arrest but the police may try to use “retrograde extrapolations.” In other words, they will try to use equations and go back in time to prove you must have been over the limit while behind the wheel. With blood tests, there is the possibility that the police used incorrect procedures to collect the sample.
  3. You Were Not Impaired: Many of the tests used to prove that a driver is “impaired” are completely one-sided to the point where sober people have trouble passing them. Expert DUI attorneys in Arizona know the limitations of these tests and can expose them.
  4. Police Procedural Error: A number of ways exist in which the police can make an error that causes the case to be thrown out. For instance, the arresting officer may not have proper training in DUI investigation, he/she may have a record of integrity violations, or perhaps the authorities denied you contact with an attorney.

As much as DUI laws are in place to protect citizens, there are cases where innocent motorists face wrongful charges. Rather than allow yourself to become the victim of an injustice, get in touch with an experienced DUI attorney in Arizona today and begin the fight to clear your name.

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