Each year, thousands of Arizonians are arrested for DUI/DWI offenses. In December 2021, there were over 2,000 arrests in the state for DUI offenses, and state authorities recorded over 30,000 arrests across 2021 (the highest number since 2014).
In this article, we’ll explore a number of things you should know about DWI/DUI offense classifications and penalties, whether you should voluntarily agree to a breathalyzer test, and how you can benefit from the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable Arizona attorney in case you are charged with a DWI/DUI.
Violations: While the terms listed below do explicitly appear in the Arizona statutes, they are commonly used to refer to the violations meeting the following criteria
Penalties. Baseline penalties (e.g., those that will apply to the above violations in the absence of aggravating factors) will include, at a minimum:
|Super Extreme DUI
|10 days (but up to 9 days of that sentence may be suspended if the driver successfully completes alcohol screening, education, and treatment program )
|90 days (although during 60 driving may be allowed under a restricted licnse)
|Inition interlock installment period
Aggravating factors. Other than repeat violations, the amount of jail time, fines, and duration of the license suspension periods will be increased based on the following factors:
It is important to understand that while you are not technically required to agree to submit to a breathalyzer test in Arizona unless and until the officer obtains a warrant, it is nonetheless in your best interests to agree. As an “implied consent” state, by obtaining a license and operating your vehicle in Arizona, you are deemed to have given advance consent to submit to a breathalyzer upon an officer’s request. As such, refusing to submit to a test is a separate and distinct offense that will result in the suspension of your license for at least a year, and if the officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving while impaired based on other facts and surrounding circumstances, your arrest as well.
Additionally, the officer is likely to obtain a warrant to administer the test, in which case you can still be convicted of a DWI and be subject to penalties both for the DWI and for refusing the test, and the penalties for refusing can be harsher than if you test positive (especially where a driver is charged with a DUI for testing with a BAC under 0.80). Finally, there are many reasons why a DUI charge can be successfully challenged and dismissed even if you failed the breathalyzer.
Based on the severity of the violation, your license may have been suspended (which means that you will be able to drive again as soon as the suspension ends), or revoked (which means that you will have to reapply for a license).
In some cases, you may be granted a restricted license, which will allow you to drive before your suspension period is over provided you remain in compliance with ignition interlock installation provisions, attend AA meetings, and/or participate in alcohol screening and education programs.
There are many attorneys in Arizona who are highly skilled and experienced in representing people who have been charged with a DWI/DUI. As mentioned above, testing positive and being charged does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of a DWI/DUI.
Additionally, even if you are ultimately convicted, an attorney can help you with your case at all stages by keeping you informed of the consequences, helping you develop a legal strategy to mitigate the potential fines and other penalties, representing you in any legal proceedings, and expediting the reinstatement of your driving privileges.