It is illegal to operate or otherwise physically control a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs in the state of Arizona. An Arizona court may order an offender to take state-certified driving under the influence (DUI) education or treatment classes. The type of classes a driver takes will depend on the specifics of the DUI, particularly if it is the first offense or one of many. The state will also require the driver to take part in a drug and alcohol screening to decide what their treatment should be.
Definition of Standard DUI in Arizona
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher faces a DUI charge. Drivers may also face a DUI even if they are under the limit but show obvious signs of impairment from alcohol or drugs. For those with a commercial driver's license, the limit is lower, at 0.04 percent, and for drivers under 21, any alcohol in the blood can lead to a DUI charge. Drivers charged with a DUI automatically face license suspension for at least 90 days, due to the state's implied consent law.
First time offenders face a minimum of 10 days in jail and a fine of $1,250. Those with two or more offenses face a minimum of 90 days in jail and a $3,000 fine, with a license suspension of up to 12 months. In both instances drivers must undergo substance abuse education and treatment, equip their vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID) and perform community service. Obtaining a restricted driver's permit during that time also requires that the offender complete drug and alcohol screening with a licensed behavioral health professional.
Extreme and Aggravated DUI Laws
A driver in Arizona faces charges of extreme DUI if they have a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher. For a first offense, offenders face a minimum of 30 days in jail and a fine of at least $2,500. Those with two or more offenses face a minimum of 120 days in jail, a fine of $3,250 and 12-month license revocation.
An aggravated DUI charge is more severe with harsher penalties. Offenders face a maximum of two years in prison, and a license revocation of up to one year. In these instances, the court will require drivers to undergo substance abuse courses, equip their vehicles with an IID and perform community service. An aggravated DUI applies to drivers who:
- Commit a DUI while under a license suspension, revocation or cancellation.
- Commit their third DUI within 84 months.
- Has a person under 15 years of age in a vehicle while committing a DUI.
- Has an IID installed while committing a DUI or refusing a chemical test.
Screening for Education and Treatment Courses
Drivers can contest their license suspension but must participate in drug and alcohol screening in the interim through one of the state's licensed screening centers. DUI screenings last between 30 minutes and three hours, and cost about $80, according to the Tobin Law Office of Mesa, Arizona.
Screenings mostly take place in person, but they can also be done as online courses or over the phone in some instances. A behavioral health professional will ask the driver questions relating to their substance use and provide them with a certificate of completion afterward. Based on how a driver answers the questions presented, the behavioral health services professional recommends the number and type of DUI courses, which don't require completion until the court mandates them.
Taking DUI Education Programs or Treatment Courses
In Arizona, a driver's DUI courses include at least 16 hours of education and 20 hours of group counseling in a classroom led by a behavioral health professional or technician. A basic Arizona DUI class covers the psychological and sociological effects of using substances, the specifics of Arizona's DUI laws and further resources for treatment, according to Arizona DUI Services. Course prices vary depending on the circumstances of the DUI and the location of the treatment center.
Attendance in 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, are not part of state-sanctioned DUI courses and do not count toward certified treatment hours. Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) has specified certified facilities on their Screening, Treatment and Education Facilities list.
- Arizona DUI Services: Online 16-Hour DUI Education
- Arizona Dept of Transportation: Revocation Application
- Arizona Department of Transportation: Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Arizona Department of Transportation: Screening, Treatment and Education Facilities
- Tobin Law Office: Arizona DUI Screening Locations
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.