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Why They’re Called the Toughest DUI Laws in the Country: Arizona DUI Laws at a Glance

Arizona is known for having some of the toughest laws and harshest penalties in the country. Most DUI convictions call for jail terms, and in some cases prison. If you plant to visit, reside, or drive through Arizona, you should be familiar with these laws.

Driving under the Influence A.R.S 28-1381: In Arizona it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or intoxicating liquor, while:

  • They are under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, or substance if impaired to the slightest degree;
  • There is any drug defined in Section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.
  • Their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle;

In sum, a driver does need a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08 percent to get a DUI. If they have had only one or two drinks, but are found to be impaired to the slightest degree, they may still be prosecuted for DUI charges.

Marijuana DUI Laws A.R.S 28-1381 A (3): A motorist may be guilty of Marijuana DUI if they are found to be driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while “There is any drug defined in Section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body. 

A recent Court of Appeal ruled that a motorist may be prosecuted of either active ingredients or inactive trace compounds are found in a person’s system. The active compound in Marijuana is THC. The inactive trace compound is “Carboxy-THC”, which is non-impairing. In previous court rulings, a person was prosecuted only if they were impaired to the slightest degree. But the impact of the recent Court of Appeals ruling allows prosecution even if the only compound revealed in the person’s system did not cause a driving impairment.

Penalties for Marijuana DUI charges are the same or similar to those for conviction of drunk driving or driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or impairing drugs.

Driving under the Extreme Influence A.R.S 28-1382: In Arizona a person may be charged with Extreme DUI or Super Extreme DUI if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is found to be:

  • 0.15 percent or more, but less than 0.20 percent = Extreme DUI Charges;
  • 0.20 percent or more = Super Extreme DUI Charges.

Violations for Driving under the Influence in absences of *Aggravated Factors, are classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Class one Misdemeanors expose a person to 30 day jail terms; suspension or revocation of driver’s license; probation; substance abuse screening, education or counseling, and use of Ignition Interlock device for a minimum of 6 months for up to 2 years. Other sentencing may apply. The higher the BAC surrounding the DUI conviction, the longer the jail terms will be, and more harsh the penalties.

Underage 21 Drinking A.R.S – 244: Persons under the age of age 21 are prohibited from consuming, or possessing spirituous liquor.

Underage 21 Drinking and Driving A.R.S. 13 –244 (34 & 35): In Arizona it is unlawful for any person under age 21 to drive, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while they are under the influence of any amount of liquor.

Aggravated Driving Under the Influence A.R.S 28-1383:An *Aggravated DUI is one that has been elevated to Felony charges. A DUI will be classified as a felony if any of the following aggravated factors surround their DUI charges:

  • The person violates any DUI law while the person’s driver license is suspended, revoked, or refused; This will be charged as a Class 4 felony;
  • Third DUI within 7 years or 84 months and has two prior convictions; This will be charged as a Class 4 felony;
  • The person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol had a person under 15 years of age is in the vehicle, at the time. This is charged as a Class 6 felony;

Felony DUI charges in Arizona expose a person to 10 days to 4 months in prison; 8 months in prison for subsequent DUI charges after 3; to $4,000.00 in fines, fees, and assessments; revocation of driver’s license for up to 3 years; use of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for up to 2 years; substance abuse education, screening, counseling, and probation or community service; possible forfeiture of vehicle, and a felony criminal record. Other penalties may apply.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Scottsdale DUI Arrest

If you face Scottsdale DUI charges, you should consult an experienced DUI attorney as soon possible to discuss your options for defense. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal or acquittal of your case, or other favorable outcome. If retained, a qualified criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and defend your charges. Most criminal attorneys who represent clients for Scottsdale DUI charges provide free consultations either by phone or in person.

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