It is really important that you understand when you can face DUI charges in Arizona. If not, you could get pulled over and not realize the danger. Driving while under any influence of alcohol is not safe. However, if you do cross over the legal DUI limits, you put a lot of people at risk. You are at risk yourself, simply because you are operating a vehicle. However, you also risk the lives of those around you. This includes other people on the road, but also pedestrians and people just going about their daily lives. Make sure you understand the implication of facing DUI charges in Arizona before you get behind the wheel after drinking even a small amount of alcohol.
Underage Drinkers Face DUI Charges in Arizona for Any Amount of Alcohol
Here in Arizona, the legal drinking age is 21. That means, as of your 21st birthday, you can legally go out and purchase and consume alcohol. Prior to your 21st birthday, it is illegal for you to possess or consume even the slightest amount of alcohol. If you get caught having any alcohol in your system, driving or not, you can face DUI charges in Arizona. However, if you are driving with any alcohol in your system, you are looking at losing your license and fines, bare minimum.
Commercial Drivers Are Held to Higher DUI Standards Than Other Drivers
In Arizona, those who drive commercial vehicles face stricter standards than those who simply drive themselves or their family around. It is considered safe for a commercial driver to have the equivalent of a beer a few hours before taking a shift, but their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, must remain below 0.04%. If they take a blood alcohol test and it comes back higher than that, they will be facing DUI charges in Arizona.
Regular DUI Charges in Arizona
For standard drivers, they must keep their BAC at 0.07% or lower. Once their BAC hits 0.08%, they fall under the category of DUI. Most officers who suspect someone may be driving under the influence will pull the driver over, then decide what signs of drunkenness they can see. Typically, this decision is made with the help of tests, commonly called field sobriety tests. What the officer will do is ask the person to perform a few mundane tasks. They can include things like:
- Saying the alphabet backward, starting with Z and ending with A.
- Walking along a straight line on the ground. They can use a street line or draw a straight line with chalk.
- Some officers will ask the person to count to 30 or 60, while standing on one foot, without losing their balance.
- They will also typically ask people to follow a flashlight with their eyes, as the officer moves it back and forth.
Those that show any signs of trouble with the above tests, are usually asked to also do a breathalyzer. While you do have the right to decline, if they believe you are drunk, they have the right to arrest you as well. For those that do show up as drunk, the officer will take your license and it is effectively suspended for a period of 12 months from that date.
Arizona is also different than many other states in that if you do face DUI charges, you get hit with two sets of charges. You face the criminal DUI charges in Arizona, plus you also face charges from the Arizona MVD, or the Motor Vehicle Division. This can leave you facing court charges for a long time, and increase the consequences that you face along the way.
Extreme and Aggravated DUI Charges in Arizona
If you were to drive with a BAC level at or above 0.15%, this is considered an extreme DUI. It carries with it its own set of consequences. Instead of just losing your license and facing a fine, plus a few days in jail, your consequences can increase from there. You may go from jail time to prison time, and your fines can increase as well.
For an aggravated DUI, you have to meet some specific circumstances. For example, if this is the third time you have faced DUI charges in Arizona within the last 84 months, this is a condition for an aggravated DUI. You can also face aggravated DUI charges in Arizona if you get a DUI while anyone that is under the age of 15 in your vehicle. So, if you happened to drive home with your young children in the car, this can result in you facing aggravated DUI charges. If you get a DUI charge while your license is canceled, revoked, or suspended, this also results in you automatically getting upgraded to aggravated DUI charges in Arizona.
We Can Help You Avoid Some of the Possible Maximum Consequences of DUI Charges in Arizona
For most people, driving while under the influence of alcohol is a mistake. It is something you never meant to do, and you never meant any harm to anyone along the way. This is something that courts understand. They know that it may have been a temporary lapse of judgment. For this reason, they appreciate seeing people take their DUI charges seriously. If you come in and get help here at the Stonewall Institute, it can help you during your court appearances. We can show the court that you came in for treatment, and are taking steps to ensure you never repeat that mistake again in the future.
Reach out to us here at DUI Class Online AZ at (602) 535-6468. Please take the time to reach out to us if you face DUI charges in Arizona. We understand how much getting help can aid you when you go to court, plus, we also know you want to get better after making this mistake. Let us help get your life going along the right path.