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Is Arizona The Strictest State On DUIs?

The state of Arizona considers driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) an extremely serious criminal offense, and the penalties can be severe. While the legal implications of a DUI conviction are high, so are the personal ones. A DUI conviction could lead to the inability to maintain employment, receive an education at a higher-level institution, create tension in relationships, and cause issues with access to your children. In some DUI cases, a guilty charge brings with it also the loss of freedom. Is Arizona the strictest state on DUIs? The penalties for a DUI conviction in the state of Arizona are harsh, much more so than many other states in the union. If you were arrested or charged with a DUI, consider contacting Chuck Franklin Law today to speak with a knowledgeable Arizona DUI defense attorney at 480-545-0700.

Understanding Arizona DUI Laws

There are limitations and laws regarding drinking alcohol in every state in the United States. Across the board, it is illegal to get behind the wheel if you are intoxicated. If you are under the influence of a drug that is affecting your ability to drive safely, or have too much alcohol in your system, you will be held accountable should a police officer pull you over in the state of Arizona.

DUI in the State of Arizona

When compared to the rest of the nation, Arizona is known for being extremely strict. The tough penalties that come with a DUI conviction in Arizona are so because the goal is to motivate people not to drink and drive in the first place. In fact, when reviewing the penalties that each state in the country imposes on drunk drivers, Arizona tops the chart as the most stringent. Additionally, when it comes to prevention of drunk driving incidents, Arizona also ranks very well for their aggressive efforts to prevent drunk driving through their campaigns and education efforts. Together, the idea is that people in the state of Arizona will be deterred from even attempting to drive when they are intoxicated.

Blood Alcohol Content Levels in Arizona

The Arizona state legislature’s drinking and driving laws are clear.

  • Private passenger driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) must be under .08% or the driver will face a DUI charge.
  • Commercial drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) must not have a BAC of more than .04%.
  • Drivers not of legal age, or younger than age 21, will face DUI charges if there is any amount of alcohol in their system.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Arizona

The website of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety details what is considered a misdemeanor or a felony DUI violation. In general, what is seen when comparing the punishments in Arizona to other states, Arizona inflicts much longer jail sentences, strict license suspensions, and high fines. Consider the following:

  • First time DUI offenders will face a minimum of 24 hours in jail or as many as 10 days behind bars. Fines costing $250 along with as little as 90 or as many as 360 days with a suspended license.
  • Second time DUI offenders will serve a minimum of 30 days in jail to as many as 90 days behind bars. The fines increase to $500. The license will be suspended for one year.
  • Very high BAC is one that is .15% or more. These individuals will be put in jail for at least 30 days regardless of if it is a first offense. The fines start at $2,500.
  • More than two DUIs is a felony offense. These individuals will face punishments at the seriousness of a Class 4 felony. This comes with a minimum of four months of jail time.

Additionally, every conviction of a DUI violation in Arizona requires an ignition interlock device to be installed.

Punitive Damages

There are some cases where victims of drunk drivers may also receive punitive damages. When a drunk driver severely injuries or kills another person as a result of their recklessness, they will undoubtedly be held to the highest standard of retribution by the criminal justice system. In addition, they may even face costly civil suits that can include punitive damages. When a civil suit is filed, punitive damages are not often awarded. However, when the cause of a deadly accident is so grievous, such as fatal drunk driving accidents, punitive damages may be appropriate. While some states do cap the amount of compensation that can encompass punitive damages, Arizona is not one of them. That means that the punitive damages which could be added to a settlement have the potential to be extremely costly. Having a criminal defense attorney such as Chuck Franklin Law on your side when you are facing very serious DUI charges can help you understand all of your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.

Frequency of DUI Accidents in Arizona

From 2003-2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 2,912 people lost their lives as a result of a drunk driving incident. The highest death rate from drunk driving incidents across the nation are those individuals aged 21-34. When compared to the rest of the country, Arizona has a rate of death from alcohol-related crashes that is slightly higher than the nation. Arizona had a rate of 6.9 per 100,000 people, whereas the rest of the country had a 6.7 per 100,000 people.

Interestingly, across all age groups, Arizona reported higher rates of death from alcohol involved accidents than the rest of the United States. Despite this, Arizona had a lower rate of people reporting that they would drive after drinking too much. The average rate of drivers who drank too much in the U.S. was 1.9 per 100,000 people while Arizona reported 1.7 per 100,00 people. Ultimately, any DUI is a serious offense and can result in catastrophic consequences for everyone involved.

Speak to an Arizona DUI Defense Attorney Today

Statistics point to the fact that Arizona is the strictest state on DUIs. Arizona DUI laws are severe, and after an arrest, many people feel overwhelmed and unsure of their next steps. Contact the experienced Arizona DUI defense attorneys today to learn more about your legal rights and options in a free consultation at 480-545-0700.

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