DUI Penalties and Defenses in Arizona

The DUI lawyers at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Phillips Law Group understand that it is difficult to grasp the ramifications of being convicted of drunk driving if the consequences of a conviction are unknown. The following penalties may be involved with various DUI offenses.

We urge you to not plead guilty to a DUI offense, but to contact the Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group instead. Having a drunk driving conviction on your record can affect your life in a variety of negative ways beyond just the criminal penalties described here. The DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group can explain the various DUI defenses available and/or help to negotiate a plea that would result in a more favorable outcome than just merely pleading guilty to the charge.

The following is a list of Arizona Criminal Penalties and Motor Vehicle Division Sanctions for DUI and Aggravated DUI Convictions:

First Offense DUI

In Arizona, a first offense DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor criminal offense involving DUI A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1) and/or A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(2) and is very serious. However, the Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group may be able to negotiate a better outcome for you than if you just plead guilty.

If convicted of a first offense DUI, there is a minimum mandatory jail requirement of one to ten days with a maximum jail term of six months. You can also be fined from $250.00 to $2,500.00 plus surcharges and placed on probation for up to five years.

In addition to the jail term, your driver’s license or driving privileges may be suspended or restricted. If your driver’s license is suspended as the result of a breath test that is over the legal limit, the suspension is ninety days. During the ninety days, you cannot drive at all during the first thirty days and you may be eligible for a restricted license for the next sixty days if you did not cause injury with your DUI and you have no prior DUI-related license suspensions within the last five years. The DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group often are successful in having the breath test thrown out of court, which can help save your license.

If you refused to take the breath test, you will have a one-year driver’s license suspension instead of the ninety days. A conviction on a 28-1381(A)(3) (involving an illegal drug as opposed to alcohol) is the same as A1 and A2 except your driver’s license will be revoked for one year. A conviction on 28-1381(A)(4) (involving a commercial drivers license) is the same as A1 and A2 except you may lose your commercial driver’s license. The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group can help you. Contact them at 602-345-6000.

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Second Offense DUI

We recommend that you hire experienced DUI lawyers such as the lawyers with Phillips Law Group, if you are looking at a second drunk driving conviction. If you have previously been convicted of DUI in the past 5 years (date of offense to date of offense), you will be facing a longer mandatory jail term. If you have one prior DUI within 5 years, the minimum jail sentence is 30 to 60 days with a maximum term of up to six months. Notice there is flexibility in this jail sentence. The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group understand how to secure the minimum amount of jail for their clients and/or negotiate your case so that ultimately no jail time is involved.

A second DUI conviction within five years also requires a minimum one-year driver’s license revocation. Revocation is more serious than suspension. Revocation means your driver’s license is not automatically reinstated after the revocation expires. To become a valid driver in Phoenix, Arizona after a revocation, you must reapply for your license and be approved. This is a long-term process that requires you to stop drinking alcohol all together.

A new law now also requires a person who is convicted of a second offense DUI to install and maintain a vehicle interlock device on all personal vehicles they drive for a period of at least one year following the restoration of their driver’s license.

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Extreme DUI With No Prior DUI Conviction

If your breathalyzer results are a 0.15% or higher, you will be charged with Extreme DUI. The Phoenix and Tucson area lawyers at Phillips Law Group have successfully defended against the breathalyzer, resulting in a positive outcome and an improved quality of life for many clients charged with drunken driving. A violation of Extreme DUI occurs when your blood or breath alcohol concentration exceeds 0.15% B.A.C. (before April 4, 2001 the limit was 0.15% B.A.C.)

If convicted of Extreme DUI, your lawyers may be able to argue for the minimum fine and jail time allowed by law. Extreme DUI has a longer minimum mandatory jail term (30 days) and a larger minimum fine of $500.00 to $2,500.00 plus surcharges. You can also be placed on probation and will have a driver’s license suspension, which will be determined by prior history. Further, if you are convicted of Extreme DUI, you will be required to attach a Ignition Interlock Device to all of your personal vehicles for a minimum of one-year after your driving privileges have been restored.

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Extreme DUI with a Prior Conviction

If you are charged with Extreme DUI within five years of being convicted of a previous DUI, you will receive a mandatory jail sentence of a minimum of 120 days to a maximum of six months. The Ignition Interlock Device is again required. Because Extreme DUI is a very serious offense, we recommend you call the Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group to set up a free private consultation at 602-345-6000.

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Aggravated DUI with no Valid Driver’s License

This is Class 4 Felony that requires a mandatory prison term upon conviction and work release is not allowed. It is possible in some cases for a DUI lawyers to negotiate a plea agreement to a different charge that would allow work release. County jail is not available under law and the presumptive prison term is three years. The minimum mandatory prison term is four months but this sentence also requires the prison to be as a condition of probation.

Your freedom and property are at stake if convicted of Aggravated DUI. The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group recommend that you plead not guilty and contact an attorney as soon as possible. An Aggravated DUI conviction is a felony offense and also requires a mandatory minimum three year driver’s license revocation. Then, your license will not come back without a reinstatement application and approval by the M.V.D. By law, the driver’s license cannot be reinstated unless the M.V.D. believes the person is no longer a risk to society by driving while intoxicated. The Ignition Interlock Device is required upon conviction for Aggravated DUI and it is also possible that the vehicle used may be subject to forfeiture by the state.

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Aggravated DUI with Two Prior Convictions in the Past Five Years

You can be indicted for Aggravated DUI if you have two prior DUI convictions in the past five years. In an Aggravated DUI, lawyers for the state of Arizona must prove two primary elements, (1) the regular DUI and (2) that you do have two valid prior convictions occurring within the past five years. In defending this type of Aggravated DUI, your lawyers can raise all defenses available with other drunk driving charges. In addition to the regular DUI defenses, you have a right to a jury trial on the DUI charge and a separate trial on the issue of prior convictions.

The penalties for Aggravated DUI include a probation term of four years along with four or more months prison time. During the probation period, you cannot drink alcohol or drive a vehicle without a valid license. You must also install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device on your personal vehicles to legally drive after your driving privileges are reinstated.

If convicted of Aggravated DUI, the vehicle you were driving when charged may be subject to forfeiture to the state of Arizona, even if you are not the owner of the vehicle. If you have been charged with Aggravated DUI, the lawyers at Phillips Law Group may be able to save your freedom and your property.

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Aggravated DUI with a Child Under 15 in the Vehicle

The offense of Aggravated DUI with a Child Under 15 in the Vehicle is a Class 6 Felony and occurs if you commit a DUI or Extreme DUI while a person under fifteen years of age is in the vehicle. If charged with this offense, the judge has a great deal of discretion when it comes to determining your sentence. The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group can offer mitigating factors and argue against the evidence to help you secure the best possible outcome to your case. For example, a judge has the authority to designate this offense a misdemeanor or felony. The judge may also treat the offense as open-ended, meaning that upon the successful completion of probation by the defendant, the judge may then decide whether to designate the charge as a felony or misdemeanor.

In this type of Aggravated DUI, the lawyers for the state of Arizona will normally file felony charges, and will file a separate felony charge for each child in the vehicle if there was more than one. A Class 6 Felony carries a presumptive one-year prison sentence in the Department of Corrections, with a mitigated sentence of six months and an aggravated sentence of 1.5 years. A Class 6 Felony Aggravated DUI does not carry a minimum jail term other than the normal DUI minimum sentences, (1st offense: 10 days; 2nd offense: 90 days; Extreme: 30 days; 2nd offense extreme: 120 days), but judges are more likely to impose the maximums because of the fact there was a child or children involved.

The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group may be able to convince the judge to give you probation instead of a prison term. The judge may order up to 10 years of supervised probation with conditions which may include alcohol counseling, a fine and up to 12 months in the county jail. A Class 6 Felony Aggravated DUI conviction also requires a minimum three year driver’s license revocation that will not be reinstated without an application to and approval by the M.V.D. Other penalties include a required Ignition Interlock Device that tests for alcohol use before a vehicle may be started. The motor vehicle owned and operated at the time of the offense may also be seized and forfeited to the state, even if the person convicted of the offense is not the owner of the vehicle.

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Work Release

At Phillips Law Group in Phoenix, their DUI lawyers are able to obtain work release for many clients. Work release is often available on misdemeanor cases. Work furlough is also available on some cases but it is more hassle and more restrictive. Work furlough is usually your only option if you were originally charged with a felony or you end up on supervised probation with a probation officer. Work furlough and work release are not available if you are convicted of Aggravated DUI. A plea to a lesser charge is the key and we can help you with that.

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MVD Conviction Violation Points Assessment

A DUI conviction will also result in points on your drivers license. Below are two charts. The first details the points involved with a particular offense. The second details the maximum fine, jail, and probation time involved with various offenses. The key to any DUI case is to either get the charges dismissed or reduce the charge to something more favorable than a DUI. The lawyers at the Phoenix firm of Phillips Law Group have a great deal of experience with DUI cases and have negotiated successful resolution for hundreds of clients.

MVD Conviction Violation Points Assessment

The following is the sentencing amount for jail or prison terms:

DUI sentencing amount for jail or prison

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Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Many times, a DUI conviction results in the defendant having to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all of his/her personal vehicles for a certain period of time. If you are facing a charge of DUI, you need to fully understand what is at stake. Please take a moment to read this information regarding the IID. Then schedule a free consultation to speak to the Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group about your case.

What is an IID?

An IID is a breath alcohol testing instrument that connects to the ignition and power system of a vehicle and is designed to prevent the vehicle from being started if the driver’s alcohol level is above a predetermined set-point.

Ignition interlocks were first developed in the U.S. and currently 35 States have IID laws. IID gained popularity since the 1986 California legislature authorized their use as a condition of license reinstatement. Since that time, there have been significant technical improvements in the devices and the monitoring programs that go along with them, and this has caused interlock programs to gain legitimacy and popularity. As a DUI countermeasure and court tool, IID has had three times lower recidivism rates than other programs.

How does the IID work?

After a driver puts the key into the ignition and turns on the power of the vehicle, the IID unit, depending on the manufacturer, will either sound a beep, give a visual warning on a screen, or light or speak to the driver, asking him/her to blow into a device or sensor head. The driver at that point is evaluated by the sensor and if the AC is below the threshold level of .03 set by the State, they are allowed to start the vehicle.

If the driver registers above the threshold of a predetermined acceptable level of alcohol, he/she will be locked out and the vehicle may not be started. When the driver returns to the threshold of acceptance, the vehicle will allow the driver to start the vehicle. When the vehicle starts, the IID will record information for the Motor Vehicle Division (M.V.D.). Information recorded includes the date, the time, and the event that occurred. Events include alcohol level, the result of the test (pass – fail), and any attempt by the driver to circumvent the unit by removing power, tampering, etc. If negative information is sent to the M.V.D., the Phoenix DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group may be able to intervene and help you with any consequences.

Is there a requirement to blow again while the vehicle is in motion?

Yes. It was found in a study by Voas & Marques (Federal Register, 1992) that people were bypassing or circumventing the IID by having someone else do the initial blowing into the mouthpiece, then taking advantage of that to drive. The answer the industry found was what is now known as the “Rolling Test”, which requires the driver to provide a breath sample at random intervals into the unit during their drive.

The feature is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Model Specifications for the IID, of which all units must now pass to be used in most mandatory programs. It is part of the criteria used to certify a unit in Arizona under the new program.

How much is the installation of the unit?

The installation cost will be between $75 and $100 and is the responsibility of the defendant. If you cannot afford this, do not be afraid to tell your DUI defense lawyers. They can help you work out a payment arrangement.

How much is maintenance?

Maintenance is a cost that is also the responsibility of the defendant. Again, if you are concerned about cost, please discuss the matter with the Phoenix and Tucson area DUI defense lawyers. We can help you. The driver is billed for the lease, download and service associated with the IID. This cost will be between $65 and $75 per month. If damage has been done to the unit, the driver will bear the cost of that damage.

Maintenance includes the re-calibration of the interlock device each time to federal standards set by the NHTSA. This insures the validity of the information given by the unit. Also at this time, the information gathered by the unit is downloaded and a summary, as well as daily log, are produced for monitoring the unit and program, and are forwarded to the M.V.D. The unit is visibly inspected for any tampering and the report on non-compliance is then transmitted to the Jurisdiction mandated by the program.

Where is the unit placed physically on the vehicle?

There are a few placement options available. If youre concerned about how the device will fit in your vehicle, please discuss it with a Phoenix DUI lawyer from Phillips Law Group. Depending on the manufacturer, the IID might be placed on top of the dash or to the right of the driver at the edge of the console. Most of the units are small. One manufacturer actually hides the unit and its speaker under the dash. All that is visible is a mouthpiece with a cord, similar to the microphone used by the PD.

How often must the defendant bring the IID in for service?

The Arizona IID program dictates the defendant bring the device in for routine inspection at the end of the first 30-60-90 day period after installation and thereafter every 60 days. The device must also be brought in for inspection if the IID registers a reading in excess of .03 at any time.

What happens if the participant does not have the IID serviced when mandated?

The IID device is pre-programmed to notify the defendant when service is required. With light, audio and visual direction, the unit tells the defendant they have five days to return for service. Everyday after they are again reminded “You have four days”, “You have three days.” Either the seventh day or two days after the last message is given, the car enters a lock down mode and will lock the participant out of the vehicle until the information and data is downloaded. If you have concerns about service, please schedule a free consultation to discuss your concerns with the DUI lawyers at Phillips Law Group.

How can a participant contact a center after hours or on weekend?

Manufacturer/Installers are required to have a 24-hour, 7-day a week toll free number for participants to call.

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DISCLAIMER: Phillips Law Group and Phillips Law Group, P.C. are separate, independent law firms from other firms listed on this website. Phillips Law Group, P.C. handles only contingency fee cases. This includes automobile and vehicle accidents and all personal injury cases. We also handle medical malpractice, product liability, employment, wage and hour cases, Social Security disability and workers; compensation cases. Phillips Law Group handles criminal and DUI cases, as well as consumer bankruptcy and debt relief cases.