First DUI in Arizona: What to Expect

Arizona ranks among the toughest states when it comes to DUI prosecution. Even if you have consumed a small amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, you will face the consequences. A first DUI in Arizona doesn’t come with sanctions that are as serious as those for repeat offenders. Still, the scope of implications will be dependent on the circumstances and the presence of aggravating factors.

Penalties for First DUI in Arizona

According to Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381, driving under the influence of intoxicating substances is prohibited.

Anyone who has a blood alcohol level of over 0.08 percent or higher will face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. A first-time offense will come with sanctions like a 24-hour period spent in jail, a 250-dollar fine, driver’s license suspension, probation for up to three years and a complete drug/alcohol assessment (the last one will be assigned on the basis of court discretion).

People who receive their first DUI may benefit from court leniency. Whenever the person agrees to complete the court-mandated drug/alcohol screening or treatment, some of the sanctions could be reduced or eliminated.

People may face more serious charges in the following circumstances:

  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Having a child aged 15 or younger in the car
  • Having been ordered by court to operate only with an ignition interlock device (IID)

In such situations, an aggravated DUI will be committed. Aggravated DUIs will contribute to Class 4 or 6 felony charges, even if the person is a first-time offender.

Administrative Penalties

A distinction has to be made between criminal and administrative penalties following a first time DUI conviction.

A license suspension for a period of at least 90 days is classified as an administrative rather than a criminal sanction. Mandatory alcohol and substance abuse screening is another requirement. Counseling or in-patient treatment could be required as a part of the DUI defense efforts in order to minimize the criminal sanctions.

Drivers who are facing administrative penalties could be entitled to a restricted license. After your license gets suspended, you will be issued a limited permit that allows driving to work and/or a drug and alcohol treatment center.

In order to be eligible for a restricted license, drivers should not have been convicted of a DUI in the past 84 months, they shouldn’t have caused injuries or death on the road and they should also provide sufficient evidence of having completed a treatment or screening program. More information about restricted license regulations can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1385 and 28-3473.

first dui in arizonaAdministrative penalties will also be enforced whenever a person refuses to submit a sample for BAC testing. Arizona is an implied consent state. This means that if you refuse to do a BAC test, you will face the consequences. These include a one-year administrative license suspension. If a second refusal to do a BAC test occurs within a seven-year period, the administrative license suspension will be extended to two years.

Such administrative sanctions can be challenged by an experienced DUI attorney. Facing DUI charges for the first time is going to be incredibly stressful. Still, you have to remember the fact that you’re entitled to legal representation. Invoking that right will prevent you from self-incriminating yourself and potentially facing more serious consequences for your DUI.

Do not panic! A good lawyer can challenge the evidence and the procedure that contributed to your DUI charges. Any procedural violation could contribute to the suppression of evidence or the dismissal of the case. DUI arrests are common but they don’t always have to lead to a conviction. If you are a first-time offender and there aren’t aggravating factors, the outcome of the criminal proceedings is likely to be favorable.