Arizona ranks among the top when it comes to DUI laws and enforcing them. It’s a popular place for Spring Training, outdoor festivals and other fun events where alcohol is served. If you’re not careful, your fun could be spoiled by getting hit with a DUI after leaving one of these events. A DUI means fines and possible jail time.
“Strict laws punishing DUI drivers are important to deter people from drinking and driving,” said Ken Gerber from Gerber Injury Law. “Here in Arizona, we have many transplants from other states and even from outside the country who now live here. We also have many tourists throughout the year. We have many people driving on the roads in Arizona that do not familiarize themselves with our traffic laws, and are not aware of our strict DUI laws.”
Gerber has seen the impact of drinking and driving. “The result is that, all too often, there are collisions caused by drivers who are under the influence. The strict laws provide the punishment, our efforts provide the compensation for the injured and the comfort of their families.”
What is the legal limit?
If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more (0.04 in a commercial vehicle requiring a commercial driver license), you are considered drunk in Arizona.
When you apply for a driver’s license, you give consent for an officer to test your blood alcohol concentration or drug content if there’s a suspicion you’re over the legal limit. This is known as the Implied Consent Law. An officer can also request you to submit to a breath or urine test.
If you are stopped for driving under the influence and it’s determined you are above the level alcohol or drug limit, you will lose your driving privilege on the spot. In addition, you will be required to complete an alcohol or drug screening before you can obtain a restricted permit or reinstate your driving privilege.
If you are under 21, your license may be suspended if there is any alcohol concentration. For your first DUI offense, you will spend at least 10 days in jail and fined at least $1,250. A second offense requires a minimum 90 days in jail with a fine of at least $3,000.
If you are pulled over and refuse to submit to any tests, you’ll automatically lose your driving privilege for 12 months (longer if it’s a second offense). In addition, you will be required to complete alcohol or drug screening before you can obtain a restricted permit or reinstate your driving privilege.
For the first DUI offense, those found guilty will spend at least 10 days in jail and fined at least $1,250. A second offense requires a minimum 90 days in jail with a fine of at least $3,000.
An Extreme DUI applies to anyone with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher. On the first offense, you’re looking at a minimum of 30 days in jail and a fine of at least $2,500. A second offense carries at least a sentence of 120 days in jail and a fine of at least $3,250.
In either case, alcohol screening/education/treatment will be ordered along with community service. An ignition interlock device will also be required to be installed on any car that’s operated. This is a breath alcohol testing instrument connected to the ignition and power system of a car. A driver must blow into the device before trying to start the car. If a driver’s alcohol level is above a certain level, the car will not start. While operating the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device at random intervals, as well.
Taking a chance on drinking and driving is not worth the hassle or penalties. More importantly, you could cause injury to someone else and yourself.
Be careful Arizona!