Criminal Law

Driving Impaired in Arizona

 
Did you know that Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws? Getting a DUI in Arizona can have major consequences, and being in the military can make matters even worse. Here is what you should know if you are convicted of driving under the influence in Arizona.

State Law

Under A.R.S. 28-1381, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if you are impaired by any “intoxicating liquor, any drug, [or] a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance.” You cannot have a blood alcohol content of .08 or more within two hours of driving.  

It is possible to get a DUI even if the engine isn’t on in the car. This is because the law states that just being in actual physical control of a vehicle while you are impaired is illegal. Several factors are assessed when it comes to determining if a person was in actual physical control of a vehicle. A few of these factors are: where the vehicle is located, whether or not the person was sitting in the driver seat, and where the keys were located.

It is also important to remember that if a person is below .08 but over .05, other evidence can be looked at to determine whether or not that person is guilty or innocent. (A.R.S. 28-1381 (G) 2)) This is because the law states that you can be convicted of DUI if you are impaired to the slightest degree. (A.R.S. 28-1381(a)(1)) There are many factors that can affect how alcohol is metabolized in a person's body. A person’s weight, body fat percentage, and how much food he or she has eaten prior to consuming alcohol are a few important factors. A person who weighs 160 pounds can consume no more than 2 alcoholic beverages without being impaired. It is important to remember that the number of beverages is approximate and does not take into account the amount of food eaten, a person’s body fat, medications taken, or any other contributing factors. It is possible to have a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or more with less to drink. For a person that weighs 100-160 pounds, the difference between .05 and .08 is one additional drink. (http://dui.drivinglaws.org/drink-table.php)


State Law Consequences

The consequences for being convicted of a DUI are what make Arizona one of the strictest states in the nation. For a first time DUI a person can serve 10 days in jail. 9 of those days are allowed to be suspended however if a treatment program is completed. For a second DUI within 7 years a person could serve 90 days in jail. If an alcohol treatment program is completed, 60 of the 90 days can be suspended. Along with mandatory jail time, if you are convicted of a DUI you will be fined a minimum of $1,250 and possibly community restitution. (A.R.S. 28-1321 I(1)-(5))

If you are convicted of a DUI you will lose your driver’s license for at least 90 days and it will not be reinstated until you complete alcohol or other drug screening. (A.R.S. 28-1321 B (1)-(2))

When you regain the use of your driver license you will be required to install an ignition interlock which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece before your vehicle is able to start. (A.R.S. 28-1321 I(6)) These devices cost $70-$150 to install and $60 to $80 a month to monitor and calibrate the device. (www.madd.org)

If you refuse to take a blood, breath alcohol, or urine test you will automatically lose your license for one year. A second refusal within 7 years will result in the loss of a license for 2 years. (A.R.S. 28-1321 B)

If you are convicted of extreme or aggravated DUI, the fines and length of jail time are more severe. See A.R.S. 28-1382 and A.R.S. 28-1383 for more information.

Military Consequences

911 Article 111 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice will govern if you are in the military and are caught drinking and driving on a military base. It states: “Any person subject to this chapter who operates any vehicle while drunk, or in a reckless or wanton manner, or while impaired by a substance described in section 9121(b) of this title (article 112a(b), shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

If you are in the military and are convicted of a DUI while not on a military base, you will face the same repercussions as a civilian, and you could receive additional repercussions from the military such as but not limited to: a demotion, a letter of reprimand, revocation of pass privileges, mandatory referral to a military substance abuse program, or bar to reenlistment. (www.militaryonesource.mil)

Veterans’ Court

Some cities offer Veterans’ Court to veterans who are charged with a DUI. If you are eligible for Veterans’ Court and complete the program, you will still be charged with a DUI, but the fines and jail time can be reduced. It is important to remember that statutory rules such as the minimum one day jail sentence are mandatory. Veterans who are VA eligible can receive help with the cost of the treatment program. Some courts are able to provide help through programs for veterans who are not VA eligible. Many veterans have found Veterans’ Court to be an invaluable experience that changed the course of their lives.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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