In Arizona, a driving under the influence or DUI conviction, even for a misdemeanor, will remain on your record for the rest of your life. A DUI conviction cannot be expunged from your criminal record in Arizona, but the state does recognize a procedure called “setting aside” the conviction that can erase the conviction from your background.
What is a DUI?
Arizona recognizes several levels of impairment for DUI offenses:
- If you have an alcohol concentration of more than 0.08, you can be charged with a DUI.
- If your alcohol concentration is more than 0.15, you can be charged with an extreme DUI
- You can be charged with a felony level aggravated DUI if you:
- Are driving under the influence on a revoked, canceled, or restricted license;
- Receive a third DUI charge in 84 months (7 years);
- Refuse to submit to a law enforcement command to take a blood or breath test while an ignition interlock device is in your car; or
- Receive a DUI charge while operating a vehicle with someone under 15 years old in the car.
Additionally, if you are under 21 years old and are driving with any level of alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a DUI.
What are the penalties for a DUI?
First-time offenders who receive a DUI conviction in Arizona face a minimum of ten or more days in jail and can be subject to a suspension of their driver’s license for a minimum time period of ninety (90) days and upwards. They will also be charged with a $1,250.00 fine and may be required to complete counseling, treatment, and community service. If your first offense is an extreme DUI, the penalties can increase to a minimum of 30 days in jail and a fine of $2,500.
If you are convicted more than once of a DUI within 5 years of the date of arrest from your first DUI, you may face a minimum jail sentence of 90 days, the loss of your license for a year, and a minimum $3,000.00 fine. You will have to complete additional counseling, treatment, and community service. In addition, your car will be required to be equipped with an ignition interlock device. If the offense is an extreme DUI, you will receive a jail sentence of at least 120 days and a fine of at least $3,250.
If you are charged with an aggravated DUI, you may face up to 2 years in jail and a license revocation for an additional year.
In addition to to the legal penalties for a DUI conviction, potential employers may see the conviction on your record when conducting a background check. You may face other professional repercussions, such as the loss of professional licenses, including your law, medical, or pilot’s license. Being convicted of a DUI may also affect your ability to own a firearm or vote. In addition, your insurance rates will likely skyrocket with a DUI conviction on your driving record.
How do I set aside my DUI conviction?
ARS 13-907 allows for people convicted of misdemeanors or felonies, including DUIs, to motion the court to set aside a previous conviction.
Some factors the court will consider include:
- The circumstances of the offense;
- Your compliance with the conditions of the sentence;
- The length of time since the date of your arrest;
- Your age at the time of the conviction; and
- Prior and subsequent convictions, if any
Your DUI lawyer can file a Motion to Set Aside the Conviction with the court. It is important to note that the DUI conviction will always remain on your criminal record. However, setting aside the conviction will indicate that the conviction has been set aside if the motion is granted by the Court. This means that future potential employers will see that the conviction in your background has been set aside and that all penalties and obligations associated with the conviction have been satisfied, making it easier to apply and get hired for new employment or maintain current employment.
If you are convicted of a DUI, it’s not the end of the world. An experienced DUI attorney can help you navigate the legal system to ensure your future is protected.
How can I help someone who is facing a DUI charge?
At the end of the day, driving under the influence isn’t just about the potential harm to your criminal record or background check. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol risks the lives of everyone on the road.
Talk to your loved one about treatment and education for substance abuse. Consider checking out programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, which support addicts and their loved ones.
This article does not contain legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, contact the experienced DUI attorneys at West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman to discuss your options for moving forward.