In 2012, drinking and driving in Arizona resulted in 227 fatalities and 29 of these accidents were caused by drivers under age 21. Though alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 residents declined by more than 47 percent during the ten-year period from 2002 to 2012, there were still 3.5 DUI fatalities per every 100,000 people living in the state during the year 2012. Understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction before getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
First Conviction DUI Penalties in Arizona
An individual convicted of DUI for the first time in Arizona must pay fines of at least $1,250 and may need to perform community restitution. An initial DUI conviction also calls for no less than ten days in jail. This jail sentence is not subject to suspension or probation unless served in its entirety. In some cases, a judge may suspend up to nine days if the individual completes an alcohol education, screening, or treatment program mandated by the court.
Administrative license suspension for a first-time DUI conviction is 90 days in Arizona. In addition, the Arizona Department of Public Safety requires an individual convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device. The court may require the device to remain on the vehicle for longer than 12 months following license suspension or receipt of the conviction report, whichever occurs later.
Drivers with blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Those with a concentration of 0.15 percent or more are considered to be under extreme influence. They are subject to harsher penalties including at least 30 days in jail, steeper fines, and loss of driving privileges for an extended period.
Underage DUI in Arizona
Drivers younger than 21 are considered underage and are subject to Arizona’s zero-tolerance DUI laws. This means that any blood-alcohol concentration can result in a DUI citation. An initial conviction results in the same amount of jail time as for majority age drivers, license suspension of between 90 and 360 days, and at least $1,600 in fines.
The law assumes that DUI offenders are innocent until proven guilty. All drivers should consult DUI attorneys before entering their pleas. Having a strong legal defense is particularly important for underage drivers due to the stricter standards and penalties imposed on this age group. Underage drinkers may also be charged with other offenses, such as distributing alcohol to underage passengers, which carry additional penalties that a good defense can avoid.
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