DUI & DWI in Arizona
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The state of Arizona defines driving under the influence, or DUI, as driving or operating a vehicle while mentally or physically impaired by any drug, alcohol or vapor releasing substance.
This includes driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08% for a personal vehicle and 0.04% for vehicles requiring a commercial driver license, such as buses. This can also include driving while inhibited by medications, even those which may have been prescribed by your doctor.
According to the Motor Vehicle Division's accident statistics, only 6% of all crashes in the state in 2007 were alcohol-related. However, this small number of alcohol-related accidents accounted for over one quarter of automotive fatalities in the state that same year.
The Penalties for DUI
For first-time convictions, you will serve at least 10 days in jail and pay at least $250 in fines. You'll also have to attend an education class and possibly complete hours of community service.
Penalties increase substantially with the severity of the intoxication and the frequency of DUI convictions. Your second (or subsequent) conviction will result in at least 90 days of jail time, at least $500 in fines, and you'll lose your license for a whole year. Community service, educational courses, and an ignition interlock device (see below) might also be part of your sentence.
Extreme DUI, or having a BAC of 0.15% or more, will result in much harsher penalties, even on a first conviction.
Even Worse for Minors
If you're under 21, the penalties are even more severe. Arizona has adopted a Zero Tolerance stance with minors and drinking. If you're found driving with any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, your license will automatically be suspended for up to two years. Plus, you'll face additional penalties, including fines and possible jail time.
Ignition Interlock Devices
As part of a program to discourage repeat offenders, Arizona law allows the MVD to require a person convicted of one or more DUIs to install an "ignition interlock device," a vehicle-specific alcohol breath test that immobilizes the vehicle until a measured breath sample determines that that driver has not been drinking.
The program is typically reserved for people who have been convicted of multiple DUIs or whose BAC was 0.15% or higher at the time of their arrest.
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