Arizona DUI Laws: Definition, Fines, Penalties & Next Steps

Travelling in the Monument Valley With a Green Old Van
••• MoreISO/iStock/GettyImages

Related Articles

The typical penalty for an Arizona driving under the influence (DUI) conviction includes a period of incarceration; fines; attendance at alcohol class and driving school; a driver’s license suspension and/or revocation; installation of an ignition interlock device (IID); and community service. Arizona state laws do not offer deferred prosecutions in drunk driving cases. An individual facing a DUI charge that is likely to result in the loss of their employment or professional license should consult a DUI lawyer who can review the case to determine whether the charge might be reduced to reckless driving.

Standard, Extreme and Super Extreme DUIs

A standard DUI involves driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s webpage on driving under the influence.

An extreme DUI is defined as driving under the influence with a BAC of between 0.15 and 0.19 percent, and a "super" extreme DUI is defined as driving under the influence with a BAC level of between 0.20 percent or above. When an individual is charged with a second offense of DUI, their BAC level in the prior DUI is not critical because the BAC for the current DUI determines the type of DUI with which they will be charged.

Fines for Different Types of Arizona DUIs

The minimum fine for a first-time standard DUI is $1,250, according to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Section 28-1381. The minimum fine for a first extreme DUI is $2,500, and the minimum fine for a first super extreme DUI is $3,250, according to ARS Section 28-1382. The minimum fine for a second standard DUI is $3,000; the minimum fine for a second extreme DUI is $3,250; and the minimum fine for a second super extreme DUI is $3,750.

Arizona DUI Penalties for Different DUI Offenses

The penalties for a first standard DUI in the state of Arizona include jail time of not less than 10 consecutive days; 90-day driver’s license suspension; one year-installation of an ignition interlock device (IID); attendance at alcohol class and completion of traffic school; and 30 hours of community service, according to ARS Section 28-1381. Penalties for a first extreme DUI involve 30 days minimum jail time on top of the regular penalties for a standard DUI. Penalties for a first super extreme DUI include six months in jail, one year-driver’s license suspension and two-year IID installation on top of the regular penalties for a standard DUI.

The penalties for a second standard DUI include jail time of not less than 90 days; one-year driver’s license revocation; one-year IID installation; attendance at alcohol school and driving school; and 30 hours of community service, according to ARS Section 28-1381. Penalties for a second extreme DUI include a jail sentence of not less than 120 days on top of the regular penalties for a second standard DUI, and penalties for a super extreme DUI include a jail sentence of 180 days and installation of an IID for 18 months on top of the regular penalties for a second standard DUI.

What Is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI is defined as a DUI committed by a person whose driver’s license is suspended, revoked or canceled; who has gotten a third DUI within seven years; who has committed a DUI while a person under 15 was in the vehicle; or who has refused to submit to a BAC test while under an IID requirement.

An individual who commits an aggravated DUI will be sentenced to a minimum of two years in state prison and will suffer a one-year driver’s license revocation. A driver can be charged with aggravated DUI for their first offense. Penalties for an aggravated DUI include a minimum period of four months of incarceration, a three-year driver’s license suspension and a two-year IID installation, in addition to the other penalties for a standard DUI.

DUI Is a Misdemeanor or a Felony

Typically, a DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This type of offense is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, according to ARS Section 13-707. An aggravated DUI can be charged as a Class 4 felony or a Class 6 felony, according to ARS Section 13-702. A Class 4 felony is punishable by a prison sentence of between one year and three years, and a Class 6 felony is punishable by a period of incarceration between four months and two years.

Next Steps After an Arizona DUI Arrest

Immediately after a defendant is arrested for a DUI, they should request to speak to a criminal defense attorney. The individual should not provide information to a law enforcement officer without a written agreement stating what the defendant will receive for providing that information. Also, the defendant’s DUI defense attorney should review and OK the agreement before the defendant signs it.

A defendant should inform their attorney as to whether they have a professional license or credential that may be at risk. The defendant should consider entering a substance abuse treatment program and joining an alcohol or drug support group. Sharing records of attendance of a recovery program or group can help improve a plea offer. The defendant should also explain their prior criminal history to their attorney. Their record will influence what the prosecutor will require.

Arizona’s DUI laws are relatively strict. It is likely that a defendant’s prior out-of-state DUI will count toward their total number of DUIs. Sometimes a defendant has grounds to challenge an out-of-state DUI. The defendant usually needs to obtain records from the other state to argue that an out-of-state DUI conviction should not count.

Restricted Driver Permits in Arizona

A restricted driver permit allows an individual charged with, or convicted of, an Arizona DUI to travel to and from work, school, medical appointments and a treatment center. Usually, a defendant does not need to take action to get a restricted driver’s permit. When a defendant is eligible for a restricted driver permit, the restricted permit is automatically mailed to their address of record, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The permit will be mailed to the driver between 22 and 30 days after the suspension period begins. This is true if the individual did not request a hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). A defendant must serve 30 days of a driver’s license suspension period before the restricted driving privilege begins.