Just One More Drink
Most folks’ attitude towards DUI law is the same – I’d rather not know about it until after it happens to me or my loved ones. But it’s actually very important to know, either for your own benefit or so that you can let your kids and friends know the serious consequences that can arise out of the mistake of one glass of wine or beer too many.
There are five types of DUI in Arizona: (1) driving while impaired to the slightest degree; (2) driving with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08% or more; (3) driving with a BAC of 0.15% or more; (4) driving with a BAC of 0.20% or more; and (5) driving with a drug (either prescription or illegal) or its metabolite in your system. The primary reason this is important to you, is that you don’t have to have a minimum BAC or an illegal drug in your system to be found guilty of DUI. One glass of wine is enough, if it impairs your ability to drive to the slightest degree. Likewise, your prescribed medications can cause you to be cited for DUI, if they impair your ability to drive.
For most of us, each standard drink (one glass of wine, one 12 oz beer, or one mixed drink) raises our BAC by 0.03% per hour. So, three drinks in one hour would put you over the legal limit. Our body generally metabolizes alcohol at a rate of 0.015% per hour, so it takes twice as long for your liver to remove alcohol from your blood than it does to put it in. While gender, size and what you have eaten may affect these rates, these are good rules of thumb to make sure that you never get behind the wheel thinking that you couldn’t be that affected.
So what happens if I have that one drink too many and am pulled over? Well if you are pulled over in Pima County and are either found guilty after trial of DUI, or plead guilty to DUI you will be facing at least $1500 in fines, one day in the Pima County Jail, 12 months of unsupervised probation, a drug or alcohol evaluation and education that will cost you several hundred dollars, suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days and a reinstatement fee, and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car for at least 6 months at a cost of about $75 per month.
A rough estimate is that one drink too many will cost you at least $2500 and could cost you a lot more.