How Driving Impaired Affects Arizona Service Members

Driving under the influence (DUI) already has significant consequences and service members, have additional repercussions because of their involvement with the military. Learn about how receiving a DUI impacts your life.

How is someone determined to be driving under the influence?

In Arizona, “driving under the influence” (DUI) is the official term instead of “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) like in other states.

Arizona’s state law prohibit all motorists from conducting a motor vehicle if:

While the limit is .08%, in the same law it says that if you are under .08% but above .05%, then this fact can be used along with other evidence to possibly still find you guilty of DUI. (A.R.S. 28-1381(G)(2))

For drivers under 21 years of age, any detectable amount of alcohol or intoxication is enough for a DUI.

In Arizona a DUI is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. (A.R.S. 28-1381(J))

Can I get a DUI if I was in my car but not driving?

It is possible to get a DUI even if the car is not running. It is illegal for the person to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while they are under the influence. Several factors are looked at when it comes to deciding if a person was in actual physical control of a vehicle. A few of these factors are:

What are the consequences of getting a DUI in Arizona?

For a 1st time DUI, a person may:

For a 2nd DUI (within 7 years), a person may:

Denying taking a BAC test is unlawful and will add more consequences. Learn more about Arizona’s “implied consent” -

What if my BAC is a lot higher than .08%?

A DUI with a BAC test above .15% or higher is considered an extreme DUI.

For a 1st time extreme DUI, a person may:

For a 2nd extreme DUI (within 7 years), a person may:

What if I am caught driving under the influence while serving the consequences of a previous DUI?

An aggravated DUI is committed by a person who:

For an aggravated DUI, a person may:

People found to have committed an aggravated DUI, Arizona law considers this as a class 4 felony. For aggravated DUI while driving with a person under 15 years of age, Arizona law considers this a class 6 felony. (A.R.S. 12-1383(O))

What happens if you refuse to take the breathilizer test or give blood?

If a person refuses to take a blood, breath alcohol, or urine test they may automatically lose their license for 1 year. A second refusal within 7 years may result in the loss of a license for 2 years. This is so because when you apply for an Arizona driver’s license you gave consent that if requested you would perform a BAC test.

What are the military consequences of a DUI?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). 911 Article 111 of the UCMJ says that any service member found to be drinking and driving "shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

In other words, this incident will be taken to military court where a consequence will be determined. Typically, the commanding officer selects the consequence, but cases vary. Learn about military courts and their process to understand more.

The commanding officer may also choose to select administrative action or issue an Article 15.

What if I got a DUI off base?

If you are in the military and are convicted of a DUI while not on a military base, you may face the same consequences as a civilian, and you could receive additional consequences from the military such as but not limited to:

It is important to remember that state law and military law are different. For military service members this means that they may still be court-martialed (having to go thought military court) for a DUI, even after actions have been taken by the state already.

In these types of scenarios, the state files criminal charges, and while the military might not take this to military court, the commanding officer may still determine if military charges or actions is necessary.

Can a civilian get a DUI in a military base?

When driving on military base as a civilian, any DUI will fall under federal jurisdiction (control). Getting a DUI on a military base as a civilian is considered a federal offense, which falls under the Code of Federal Regulation. An Army’s Judge Advocate’s Group (JAG) will take this to federal court.

For civilians who work on base but are not service members, getting a DUI may face immediate termination of employment.

While military police and civilian police are not the same, military police have the same authority as civilian police. They may stop cars if there is probable cause, perform a sobriety test, and arrest drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence.

What is Veteran's 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 may 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 may receive help with the cost of the treatment program.

Some courts can 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.