Alcohol has a special place in society, with advertisements and celebrity endorsements promoting consumption. Consequently, it also commonly leads to incidents that require calling a respected criminal defense attorney.
Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to driving a car while intoxicated—a dangerous activity that can lead to accidents and to criminal penalties. When you drive under the influence and face a criminal investigation, an Avondale DUI lawyer can help you understand the charges and defend yourself.
Arizona Code § 28-1381 criminalizes DUI in a few different scenarios. A DUI conviction can lead to fines and even jail time, but a DUI lawyer can provide even more knowledge about these penalties.
Section 28-1381 defines a DUI as driving or controlling a car while under the influence of liquor or drugs in a way that impairs a driver even slightly. It also defines a violation as driving with a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.08 and driving a commercial vehicle—one that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL)—with an alcohol concentration greater than 0.04.
A violation that leads to a conviction will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can saddle a driver with hundreds of dollars in fines and jail time. For a first violation, a driver will pay a minimum $250 fine and two $500 assessments for public funds, and a driver shall receive a jail sentence of at least 10 days. However, a judge can mandate an alcohol or other drug screening, education, or treatment program in place of the jail sentence (except for one day, which must be served).
Beyond the basic penalties for DUI, the state has higher tiers of penalties for more severe violations. Repeat violations can also result in higher penalties, such as more expensive fines and longer jail sentences.
State law raises the penalties for violations with alcohol concentrations farther above the legal limit of 0.08, adding thousands of dollars of fines alongside longer minimum jail sentences. For a concentration between 0.15 and 0.20, the two assessments jump to $1,000 each instead of $500, and a concentration over 0.20 increases the base fine to $500 minimum from $250.
Repeat violations within 84 months also increases possible penalties. For a basic violation, a second occurrence leads to at least 90 days in jail and various penalties—a $500 fine, two $1,250 assessments, and a driver’s license revocation for a year. For repeat violations of the higher alcohol concentration tiers, jail time leaps to a minimum of 120 days (for 0.15 to 0.20) or 180 days (for above 0.20) and fines of $500 or $1,000.
Perhaps most importantly, DUI offenses and penalties can increase even more with certain aggravating factors. Arizona Code § 28-1383 establishes that a driver who violates either Section 1381 or 1382 in the following scenarios can lead to a felony conviction:
With such a felony conviction, a driver can suffer hundreds and thousands of dollars in fines and several months in jail. An Avondale DUI lawyer can explain these tiers of penalties based on a driver’s individual circumstances.
The severity of a DUI charge, especially if an aggravated or repeat offense, should not be underestimated. Monetary fines add up, as do minimum jail sentences and the possibility of losing your driver’s license.
In the face of all these penalties, an Avondale DUI lawyer can support you and answer any questions you might have. Call Grand Canyon Law Group for a free consult.