Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Everyone who gets convicted of even the lowest level DUI (ARS § 28-1381(A)(1), “Driving While Impaired to the Slightest Degree”) has to serve at least one full day in jail (overnight for 24 hours) and install and maintain something called an interlock ignition device for one year. It’s a device that makes you blow into it before you can start up your car, and most of our clients think it’s worse than the day in jail. More about this later.
But there’s other minimum penalties, too, like a series of fines and charges that total about $2,000.00 and at least 16 hours of alcohol education. There’s also a separate 90-day suspension of your driver’s license that you usually have to do even if we win your criminal case. More about that later, too.
And there’s still a few other common minimum things like a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (“MADD”) Victim Impact Panel which is a one-time two hour session—which we think is pretty useful for most people– and sometimes judges add a 12-month term of unsupervised probation on top of it all, just to be sure you’ve done all the other things we just talked about.
Like I said, these are the minimum penalties for a simple DUI in Arizona. These penalties get worse as you go up the scale.
Misdemeanor DUI with Prior Offenses
Arizona has changed the law to have particularly and increasingly harsh penalties for people who been arrested or convicted of DUI’s before. First, when does a prior count? You’d be surprised. They expanded it. No longer, three years, or even five years, like many of you think, but now it’s seven years.
And boy does it count. If your new DUI is an “Extreme” DUI, and your old one you got ticketed for within seven years of getting ticketed for this one, the minimum jail sentence is “120 days, 60 days of which shall be served consecutively, and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence until the entire sentence has been served.” (See A.R.S. §28-1382(E)(1)). If you get a second offense “super extreme” it’s a minimum 180 days in jail; and if you just got a “simple” second offense it’s a minimum 90 days in jail.
Add to that, MVD revokes your license for at least one year, and then when you finally get it back, you then have to carry an interlock ignition device for at least a year if not more.