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DUI Arizona First Offense

First Offense DUI – What Does It Mean?

The State of Arizona takes all DUI prosecutions seriously. Impaired driving may escalate into more severe crimes, depending on the facts and what transpires. A first offense for driving under the influence with a BAC 0.08% or more of alcohol or drugs in Arizona is a Class 1 Misdemeanor for a first DUI conviction, unless some additional aggravating elements are present.

Most DUI cases involve upstanding citizens who have never been involved in the criminal justice system. However, those that do get arrested quickly realize that an arrest and conviction for DUI/DWI in Arizona will have immediate and serious consequences. It is very important to consult with, and retain an aggressive, experienced Arizona attorney who is knowledgeable on how these cases are investigated, prosecuted, and defended.

Contact our Arizona first offense DUI lawyers today for a free consultation!

First Offense Misdemeanor DUI Offenses in Arizona

ARS 28-1381(A)(1) through (A)(4)

A first time offense for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs in Arizona is governed under ARS 28-1381(A), which states:

It is unlawful for a person to (A) drive or (B) be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this State under any of the following circumstances:

  1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree. ARS 28-1381(A)(1).
  2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of (A) driving or (B) being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle. ARS 28-1381(A)(2).
  3. While there is any drug defined in [ARS] section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body. ARS 28-1381(A)(3).
  4. If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license as defined in section 28-3001 and the person has an alcohol concentration 0.04 or more.

Mandatory Minimum Penalties for First Offense DUI in AZ

Under Arizona’s DUI statutes, all DUI convictions, no matter how minor, require the court to impose mandatory minimum penalties that require jail time, high fines and counseling in EVERY case. All first offense misdemeanor DUI charges are Class 1 misdemeanors. DUI Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable with up to 6 months in jail, 5 years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines and surcharges. However, the courts must impose the following mandatory minimum penalties for every first offense non-extreme DUI in Arizona:

Impairment to the Slightest Degree ARS 28-1381(A)(1) / Driving with a BAC above .08 ARS 28-1381(A)(2) / Driving Under the Influence of Drugs ARS 28-1381(A)(3):

  1. Mandatory minimum 10 days in jail. The court may suspend all but one day if the defendant agrees to complete a court ordered substance abuse program;
  2. Mandatory minimum $1,500 in fines, not including jail and other court fees;
  3. Mandatory substance abuse counseling;
  4. Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in the defendant’s vehicle for a minimum of 6 months;
  5. Mandatory license suspension and MVD traffic school.

Ramifications for a First Offense DUI Under ARS 28-1382

Criminal Charges

Under ARS 28-1382(D), a person who is convicted under this section for having a BAC above a 0.15 but less than 0.20 (28-1382(A)(1)), shall be sentenced to serve not less than 30 consecutive days in jail. Also, pursuant to ARS 28-1382(D), a person who is convicted under 28-1382(A)(2) for having a BAC above a 0.20, shall be sentenced to serve not less than 30 consecutive days in jail. A person also faces significant fines, and up to 5 years of probation.

However, under 28-1382(I), a judge may suspend all but 9 days for a conviction under ARS 28-1382(A)(1) (BAC above a 0.15 but less than 0.20) if the person equips any vehicle they operated with a certified ignition interlock device for 12 months. For a conviction under 28-1382(A)(2) (BAC above 0.20), a judge may suspend all but 14 days of the sentence if the person equips any motor vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device for 12 months. This is known as a “Sub I”.

There are courts throughout the State of Arizona and even the Phoenix Metropolitan area that do not allow a person to obtain the benefits of Subsection I. It is important to consult with an experienced Arizona DUI attorney who is knowledgeable and skilled in the defense of these cases.

Driver's License Penalties

There will also be license ramifications imposed by the Arizona DMV for an Extreme and Super Extreme DUI. The same as first time DUI convictions under ARS 28-1381(A), a person’s license will be suspended for a period of 90 days.

Ramifications for a First Time DUI Under Ars 28-1381(A)

Criminal Charges

Any person convicted under ARS 28-1381(A) in Arizona is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and shall be punished pursuant to ARS 28-1381(I), which requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 consecutive days in jail. However, all but 1 of those days may be suspended if the person completes alcohol/drug screening and counseling. The number of hours a person will be subject to counseling is dependent upon the screening with the Department of Health Services approved alcohol or drug counselor.

In addition, a person must pay a fine, which will include a large surcharge, and large payments to different funds, including a Prison Construction and Operations Fund. A court may also order the person to perform community work service hours, as well as attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel. Finally, a person may be placed on probation for a period of up to 5 years for a misdemeanor DUI.

Driver's License Penalties

In addition, there will also be actions the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicle will take against a person for a DUI conviction in Arizona. Indeed, pursuant to ARS 18-1381(I)(6), if the offense involves alcohol (not drugs) the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicle will require any vehicle the person operates to be equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. The DMV will also suspend or revoke a person’s license for this type of offense.

A person’s license will generally be suspended for a period of 90 days, and a person may obtain a temporary/restricted license after serving a 30 day hard suspension. However, a person may lose their license for this type of offense for a period of 12 months should the person refuse to submit to a required chemical test during the DUI investigation (i.e., if someone refuses to submit to the intoxilyzer breath test).

Have you been arrested for drunk driving? Our Arizona first offense DUI attorneys are here to help. Get a free case evaluation.

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