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Arizona DUI Penalties

Updated August 30, 2020

In 2007 the Arizona legislature changed the penalties for first time Arizona DUI convictions.  Since that time there are have even more material changes.  Let’s take a look at them

Back in 2007

On September 19, 2007, Arizona changed the penalties for a first time DUI conviction.  Under the change, the penalties vary based on the blood alcohol level of the person.  Here are some of the changes the legislature has made for a person convicted of a first offense DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of above a .08 and below a .150.  

Arizona DUI Penalties

The Potential Jail in 2007

The potential jail remained the same as it did before the new law went into effect.  The minimum amount of incarceration was one (1) day and the maximum is six (6) months.  The only way to avoid the one day of jail was to either get the case dismissed or reduced to a charge other than DUI.

Moreover, the penalties still included a mandatory alcohol and drug screening.  Based on the results of the screening the person can receive education and treatment.  The amount of education and / or treatment was discretionary. 

Driver's License Suspensions

Some of the most onerous penalties concern the person’s drivers license. There are three primary ways that a person’s drivers license can be impacted. First, as part of every DUI investigation the police will perform some type of chemical test. 

The test is usually in the form of blood, breath or urine.  If the test results shows the person had a blood alcohol concentration above a .08, then the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Arizona Department of Transportation will be notified.  Upon receipt of the results, MVD will suspend the person’s driving privileges for a period of ninety (90) days.  However, after the first thirty days (30) days a person may be eligible for a restricted driving permit.  The permit allows a person to go to and from work or school.

If the person is not suspended by MVD (usually because they prevailed at an MVD hearing or the officer failed to notify the MVD of the test results) and is then convicted of a DUI charge, they will receive a ninety (90) day suspension as a result of the conviction.

The second way that a person’s privilege to drive will be effected is that a DUI conviction will put eight (8) point on their driver’s license.  Eight points means that a person must attend Traffic Survival School.  Moreover, any additional points could trigger an additional suspension.

The third, and potentially the most harmful, MVD consequence from a DUI conviction is the mandatory ignition interlock device.  The new law requires that everyone who is convicted of DUI must place an interlock device in any automobile they drive.  The new law requires that a first time DUI offender drive with this interlock device for a minimum period of twelve (12) months.

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