It's true - Arizona has reduced the penalties for DUI convictions. Here are some of the highlights:
- The interlock requirement has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months (for first time non-extreme DUI.)
- The mandatory jail requirements have been modified / reduced. There is a lot of legalese with this particular change. I will do a detailed post on the specifics soon. However, you should know the judges now have more discretion to reduced jail time for both extreme and non-extreme DUI convictions.
- Home detention (an electronic ankle bracelet) will now be available in justice courts and the judges now have some more latitude to utilize these ankle bracelets instead of long jail sentences;
- Certain driver's license suspensions now allow for restricted driving permits that previously did not;
There are a lot more changes in the new law. The legislature, without a public debate, removed the statutory right to jury trial for non-extreme DUI cases. However, all extreme DUI charges and all second DUI charges still have an automatic right to a jury trial. There may still be a right to jury trial in regular DUI cases under Arizona's common law. In any event, the jury trial has not disappeared - there will be a big legal fight to come on this issue.
I will be posting additional details on the new laws in the coming days.