DUI Charges in Arizona
A DUI is based on your BAC (how much alcohol is in your system). The chemical test you may be administered — either breath, blood or both — will give a reading in percentages. As the percentage rises, so does the seriousness of the DUI you’ll be charged with.
A BAC of 0.08 to 0.149 percent is considered a "regular" DUI, with the least severe level of penalties. A BAC of 0.15 to 0.199 is considered an "extreme" DUI. When the BAC reaches 0.2 percent or higher, that’s considered a "super extreme" DUI.
An extreme DUI raises the jail time up to a minimum of 30 consecutive days and the minimum fines and fees to at least $3,500. A super extreme DUI ups the ante again — with a minimum of 45 days in jail and fines and fees of at least $5,000. And these penalties are just for first-time offenders. If you get another DUI within 84 months, jail time almost quadruples and the penalties and punishments are substantially greater.
If you’re caught operating your vehicle while your license is suspended and you’re impaired, you can be charged with a Felony for Aggravated DUI, which carries a minimum of 4 months in prison with a presumptive term of 2.5 years in prison. An aggravated DUI can also be charged if you have two prior DUI convictions within the previous 84 months, driving a vehicle while impaired if the driver is subject to an ignition interlock requirement and the vehicle being driven is not equipped with an ignition interlock device, and/or if a passenger under 15 years of age is in your vehicle while you are impaired.
Another point to remember is that you can be charged with a DUI even if you’re not operating/driving your vehicle. So long as you have “actual physical control” of your vehicle — say you’re sitting in it parked on the roadside with the keys in your hand or in the ignition — you can be charged with a DUI. While there is something called a “shelter rule” defense, the jury will be asked to weigh whether you still had actual physical control of your vehicle.
You should be aware that, under Arizona’s “implied consent” law regulating your driving privileges, you must submit to a breathalyzer test at the station and/or a blood test. If you don’t, you’ll lose your driver’s license for one year for a first time "refusal" and two years for a second time refusal.
Ignition Interlock Device Installation
Each DUI conviction requires you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on all of your vehicles. You will be responsible for paying for the installation, along with a monthly operational fee. To start your vehicle, you will have to blow into the ignition interlock device to unlock the ignition. As you’re driving, the IID will periodically require you to blow into the device to make sure you haven’t been drinking since you started driving.
A first offense regular DUI conviction and/or a first offense extreme DUI conviction carry a minimum of a one year IID requirement. A first offense super extreme DUI carries an 18-month IID requirement.