Caught Drunk Man Driving

Is a DUI in Arizona a Felony?

Getting a DUI is a huge problem no matter where you live. For those living in or passing through Arizona, it can be an even bigger problem. Arizona has some of the most severe punishments for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Depending on the situation, an Arizona DUI can be classified as a felony.

A DUI in Arizona is either classified as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. A misdemeanor is considered a “minor wrongdoing” while a felony is seen as a more serious problem. The number of similar offenses on the person’s record may bear an impact on whether they are more likely to be charged with a felony. 

Fines, jail time, loss or suspension of license, and community services are all common punishments for getting a DUI in Arizona. It can be easy for someone to think they can get away with driving drunk, but it is not worth the financial and criminal record risks involved. Playing it safe is always the best option.

The state takes this issue very seriously, but it can be confusing to know what exactly the penalties are if you are charged. Here is a breakdown of the different kinds of DUI charges in Arizona:

Standard DUI

A standard DUI is based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver being at 0.08 or higher. If convicted of a first offense, the driver is typically sentenced to jail for 10 days with a certain number of days suspended. They are also charged $1500 along with other jail and service fees. Counseling is also required on a first offense. The driver’s license may be suspended for 90 days or revoked for a full year depending on the situation. Finally, when the driver resumes driving, their car will be equipped with an “Interlock” system that requires them to pass a breathalyzer test before driving. This system is installed for a year.

In the second offense, the punishments are higher. For the same BAC level, the driver may be sentenced to 30 or more days in jail with a possibility of home release or home detention following a requisite number of days in custody, charged $3500 along with jail and service fees, and required to attend counseling. With a second offense, the license is suspended for a full year and the vehicle equipped with an interlock breathalyzer for a full year after that. In addition to all of this, the driver must perform 30 hours of community service.

Extreme DUI

An extreme DUI charge is higher, along with the punishments involved. These charges are based on a BAC of 0.15 or higher and can be classified as a felony in certain cases. On the first offense, a driver will be jailed for 30 days with a possibility of home detention following a requisite time period, charged $2780 plus fees and sent to counseling. Their license is suspended for 90 days and a 1-year interlock is installed into their vehicle afterwards.

On the second offense for an Extreme DUI, a driver will be jailed for 120 days and possibly allowed home detention following a requisite number of days. The fines balloon up to $3740 plus fees and counseling is required. Their license is revoked for a full year and the interlock system is installed for a full year. In addition, 30 hours of community service is required.

Super Extreme DUI

A Super Extreme DUI is the highest type of DUI charged. This charge is based on a BAC level of 0.20 or higher. The first offense alone required 45 days in jail with the possibility of home detention following a requisite number of days. The fines start at $3240 plus fees and counseling is required. The driver’s license is suspended for 90 days and their car is equipped with interlock for 18 months.

For a second offense, the driver can be in jail for up to 180 days, possible on home detention following a requisite number of days. The fines start at $4650 plus fees and counseling is required. Their license is revoked for a year and interlock is installed for 2 years. Finally, 30 hours of community service are required.

DUIs are a serious crime no matter where they occur. Drivers put themselves and others at risk of injury or death when they drive drunk, even if they feel like they can drive just fine. It is not worth the risk of life that is involved.

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