What Makes a DUI a Felony?

Aug 14, 2020

In Arizona, if a person drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while they are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol or they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, they can be charged with a DUI. In many cases, the offense is charged as a misdemeanor, and even then, it comes with severe penalties such as jail time and/or fines. However, in some circumstances, a DUI can be a felony offense, and the penalties the individual faces are significantly increased. (ARS 28-1383).Below are some of the aggravating factors that can elevate a DUI to a felony offense:


  • When the driver’s license is invalid: A person may be charged with a class 4 felony if they commit a DUI or extreme DUI (driving with a BAC of 0.15 or higher) and their driver’s license is suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused.
  • When the driver has multiple DUI convictions: If a person has 2 or more DUI convictions and they are facing a third charge within 7 years of the previous, they can be accused of an aggravated DUI. Again, this is a class 4 felony.
  • When a minor was in the vehicle: A person may also be charged with an aggravated DUI if they were driving under the influence with a person under 15 years of age in the vehicle. This is a class 6 felony.
  • When the driver has an IID in their vehicle: Another situation in which a person may be charged with a class 4 felony is when they commit a DUI or extreme DUI and they have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.
  • When the driver is going the wrong way: It’s a class 4 felony for a driver to be traveling the wrong direction on a highway while they’re under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Potential Penalties for Felony DUIs

A felony is considered a more serious offense than a misdemeanor. As such, the potential conviction penalties a person can face are harsh.

A few of the possible punishments include, but are not limited to:

  • A minimum term of imprisonment
  • A driver’s license revocation
  • A $250 assessment fee (in addition to other fines and fees)
  • A fine of up to $750
  • An additional $1,500 assessment that goes to the prison construction and operations fund
  • An additional $1,500 assessment that goes to the public safety equipment fund
  • A requirement to complete a traffic survival school course
  • A requirement to install an ignition interlock device

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI offense? Contact Oliverson & Huss Law PLLC at (480) 616-8229 for the defense you need. We have over 40 years of combined experience and know what it takes to get results.



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