Arizona has a complex system for charging and punishing DUI offenses. When you are facing a DUI charge, it is important to understand the consequences of different levels of DUIs. The following information could serve as a guide, but you should speak to a local criminal defense attorney about the specifics of your case.
Types of DUI Charges
Police can charge you with regular DUI when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds .08 but is less than .15. You also could face a regular DUI charge if your BAC is less than .08, but you show signs of alcohol or drug impairment.
When your BAC is between .15 and .19, you could face an extreme DUI charge, and if your BAC is .20 or higher, the charge is super extreme DUI.
Aggravated DUI is the only felony DUI charge. Prosecutors bring this charge when your BAC indicates you are over the legal limit and certain aggravating factors were present. These factors include having a child in the vehicle, driving with a suspended or revoked license, or driving the wrong way on a highway. A third DUI within seven years will be charged as an aggravated DUI.
Penalties for Various DUI Offenses
Anyone convicted of a DUI offense must serve a minimum jail or prison sentence. Judges have the option to impose a sentence that is longer than the minimum.
According to Arizona Revised Statute § 28-1381, a first offender convicted of DUI faces thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges, license suspension, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device when the suspension is lifted, community service, plus mandatory jail time. Although a judge can suspend most of the jail time and sentence the offender to probation, anyone convicted of regular DUI must serve at least one day in jail.
A DUI conviction triggers a mandatory drug and alcohol screening. If the screener determines you have a substance abuse issue, they may recommend treatment. Completing the recommended treatment will often be a condition of probation for DUI charges. Conviction on DUI charges also requires you to buy an SR-22 car insurance policy for three years, at considerable extra expense.
If you are convicted of extreme DUI, as a first offender you face all the penalties imposed on people convicted of DUI, plus others. You face higher fines and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days, although serving part of the sentence on home detention is sometimes possible.
You must install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles you operate for at least one year after your license suspension expires. A judge also could order you to abstain from alcohol for 30 days or longer and require you to submit to continuous alcohol monitoring.
Super Extreme DUI
A first offender convicted of super extreme DUI faces penalties that include a mandatory minimum of 45 days in jail and 18 months with an ignition interlock device after the license suspension expires. Fines and surcharges could add up to several thousand dollars. You must take traffic safety and alcohol education courses.
All the penalties that apply to misdemeanor DUI convictions apply to a felony conviction for aggravated DUI. In addition, a felony conviction strips you of your voting rights and gun rights.
If the aggravated charge resulted from having a child in the car, it is a Class 6 felony, and you could receive a sentence of ten days in jail, with nine days suspended, up to 90 days in jail. If the felony charge resulted from any other aggravating circumstance, it is a Class 4 felony, and the minimum mandatory sentence is four months in prison.
How Your Past Record Influences the Current Action
When you have a history of one or more DUI convictions within the past seven years, the sentence for an additional conviction is considerably harsher than if it was your first offense. However, only convictions within the past seven years count—a prior conviction more than seven years ago does not impact a DUI sentence.
If you are convicted of a repeat DUI offense, your BAC at the most recent arrest controls for sentencing purposes. In other words, if you have a regular DUI conviction from an incident six years ago and you now face charges for extreme DUI, you will be sentenced for a second extreme DUI offense.
Discuss the Consequences of Different DUI Levels With Grand Canyon Law Group
The sentencing scheme for DUI offenses is complex, and a judge can consider mitigating and aggravating factors when imposing a sentence. It is critical to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer who explores all avenues to get a charge dropped or reduced, and presents a persuasive case for a lenient sentence.
Do not face a DUI charge without capable legal representation. Schedule a consultation today with our team.