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). To be clear about the terms DUI and DWI, they are related but not wholly interchangeable. DUI is defined as driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, whereas DWI means driving under the influence of alcohol (only).
Here are some quick facts and stats about Arizona DUI laws:
Of course, it will be fairly clear to you that being arrested for a DUI means you will be in a great deal of trouble. But what do you do when you get a DUI in Arizona?
The first thing to stress is that you should comply with the officers, even if you believe you have done nothing wrong. You are obliged to take DUI tests (Breath, Blood, Urine) if asked to do so by an officer in Arizona. You might hear all kinds of urban myths about your rights to refuse a DUI alcohol test, but Arizona driving laws operate under “Implied Consent Law.” Essentially, this means that you had already agreed to submit to testing when you got your license/took control of the vehicle. Refusal could result in automatic suspension of your license and other charges. But here is an important point to remember: If you fail the test, it does not mean you are guilty. If there are mitigating circumstances, an Arizona DUI lawyer will be able to help. Nevertheless, you should always comply with the officers at the scene.
What comes next when getting an Arizona DUI depends on a number of factors, including how intoxicated you were when stopped and any previous offenses. This guide, sourced from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, gives you an insight into what you could face:
|Jail||License Suspension||Fine||Interlock Ignition Device Required*|
|1st Offense||24 hours minimum||90 days to 1 year||$250 base fine||Yes|
|2nd Offense||30 days to 90 days||1 year||$500 base fine||Yes|
|3rd Offense||4 months minimum||1 year||$750 base fine||Yes|
*an interlock ignition device is a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle. It requires you to take an alcohol breath test before starting the vehicle.
Please note that the table above is only a guide to DUI/DWI in Arizona. You may also be required to perform community service and/or attend an alcohol center for education and treatment for alcohol abuse.
As you have seen above, your license will be suspended for 90 days if it is your first DUI offense. However, there are factors to consider before you can get your license back. First, you will have to comply fully with any recommendations set out by the authorities or presiding judge. This might mean attending AA meetings, alcohol screening and education programs, and putting an interlock ignition device on your car. Remember that the best way to get your license back after a DUI in Arizona is to comply fully with the law. This means you should not miss any court dates or other appointments that you are required to attend.
There are many specialized Arizona DUI law firms with experienced DUI attorneys who can help with your DUI offense. As we mentioned earlier, failing an alcohol test at the scene does not necessarily mean you are guilty of driving under the influence. There may be mitigating circumstances involved in your DUI case, or you may feel you have been treated unfairly. Regardless, you should abide by the arresting officer and then speak to a DUI attorney. At the very least, an Arizona DUI/DWI lawyer can help with your case, ensuring that you are fully aware of the consequences and advising you on what steps to take. Hiring a lawyer for a DUI will ensure that you get your license back as quickly as possible, and perhaps help you avoid hefty fines and potential jail time.