What Factors Will Affect the Seriousness of a First Time DUI?
The potential consequences of a DUI charge are dependent upon a number of factors in addition to whether you have a prior DUI conviction. As a general rule, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor. The basic requirement is that this is your first conviction for driving under the influence within the prior 84 months. But even if you meet this requirement, there are additional issues that could affect both the classification of the charge and the applicable penalties.
- Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). In the case of driving under the influence of alcohol, at least for those over the age of 21, this typically involves driving with a BAC of 0.08 or greater. (Of course, if you are under the legal drinking age, the presence of any alcohol in your system could result in a charge.) On the other hand, if your BAC is 0.15 or greater (extreme DUI), the consequences increase. And those consequences are even more significant where the BAC is 0.20 or greater (super extreme DUI). A high BAC could, for example, affect the length of any jail term, the amount of the fines and assessments, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), among other things.
- DUI with a minor passenger. If you are arrested for DUI and there is a minor (under the age of 15) in your vehicle, you could be charged with a felony.
- An accident. An accident, even for a first time DUI defendant, could result in an aggravated sentence at trial. An aggravated sentence is anything other than the minimums.
The increased classification and/or penalty in these cases may apply even if you were never convicted of DUI before, and even if your driving record is spotless.
Phoenix DUI Lawyer Answers Drunk Driving Questions
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First Time DUI Penalties
Even if you have never been convicted of DUI, and even if your driving record is spotless, the penalties for driving under the influence are significant. While every case is to some degree unique, here is what you can generally expect if you are convicted:
- Jail time. The statute calls for a minimum 10-day jail sentence, but 9 of those days are suspended upon successful completion of court ordered substance abuse and screening.
- License suspension. Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. However, you may be able to operate with a restricted permit. In order to get a restricted permit, you will need to get a screening done from an approved substance abuse screening and treatment provider. A list of these can be found on the Arizona DOT website. These are the same providers that provide the treatment that is required. And although this 90 day suspension can be initiated by the MVD before conviction or by the court upon conviction, it can only happen one time.
- Fines, costs and assessments. For a first time DUI, the general fees are two $500 assessments, a $250 fine plus 83% surcharge (around another $500), jail costs of a couple of hundred dollars.
- Installation of an IID on your vehicle. An ignition interlock is required upon conviction of any DUI in AZ. However, in AZ the law recently changed, permitting a reduction of the amount of time from 12 to 6 months, should you complete your treatment.
- Points on your license. A DUI will result in 8 points on your license. Because of this, you will be required to complete traffic survival school in order to avoid an additional suspension.
- Insurance rates. Your auto insurance will likely increase, to the tune of thousands of dollars per year, for at least 3 years.
Clearly, these penalties are more than an inconvenience. The financial consequences are harsh, and losing your license for any period of time will affect your entire way of life, and perhaps even your livelihood.
First Time DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
If you are facing a DUI charge, you want an attorney who will do more than go through the motions. You want a Phoenix DUI attorney who has the experience, know-how and commitment to take advantage of every possible defense on your behalf. Call the Law Offices of David A. Black today for a free consultation. Find out what we can do for you.