Strict AZ DUI Laws May Soon Toughen
AZ DUI laws rank among the nation’s toughest, and some advocates are pushing for even tougher penalties. The National Transportation Safety Board voted in May 2013 to recommend that states reduce the blood alcohol legal limit threshold to .05 from .08.
Although lawmakers have yet to adopt the measure, similar bills have been proposed in the past.
Current DUI law Arizona makes it illegal for people to drive with a blood alcohol limit of .08 or more. Commercial legal limits for blood alcohol levels are even stricter, at .04.
The minimum punishment for a person convicted of a DUI in Arizona is at least 24 hours in jail time, fines and surcharges in excess of $1,000, and license suspension lasting anywhere from 90 to 360 days. DUI law Arizona prohibits plea bargains, meaning that a criminal defense attorney can’t help you reduce the charge to a lower one, such as reckless driving.
People whose blood alcohol levels test in excess of .15 are considered under Arizona DUI law to be extreme offenders, and the punishments increase accordingly. Jail time increases to a minimum of 30 days. For people who test above .20, the punishment calls for at least 45 days in jail.
A DUI attorney can help those charged lower their fines and other punishments even though state law prohibits plea bargains.
For second offenses, potential fines and surcharges increase to more than $3,000. Second offenders can also work with a DUI lawyer to decrease the amount of fines owed and limit jail time. Additional punishments possible include 30 days of community restitution and license suspension for one year. Second DUI law Arizona offenders may also get sentenced to an alcohol or drug treatment program.
Escalated punishments for repeat offenders or those found in violation of suspended driving licenses can include automobile impoundment and house arrest. Ignition interlocks are another common punishment for AZ DUI law offenders. The devise attaches to the person’s car, and the driver must breathe into it, proving sobriety, before turning the key in the ignition.
DUI law Arizona also carries strict penalties for refusing to take blood alcohol tests. The minimum penalty for the first refusal is a one-year suspension of driver’s license, and additional years for second and third offenders. If a police officer asks you to take a field sobriety test or answer questions related to your alcohol intake prior to driving, you may decline and instead ask to speak with a DUI attorney. However, DUI law Arizona doesn’t give you the right to actually speak to a DUI lawyer until after you have been arrested. Avoiding a police officer’s questions simply allows you to avoid helping him gather evidence against you.
A criminal defense attorney can also help those under 21 who were caught drinking and driving. Under AZ DUI laws, anyone under the age of 21 who is found with alcohol on their breath gets charged. Having a skilled DUI attorney can mean the difference between receiving the maximum penalty and the minimum.