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DUI Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the penalties for a first-time DUI?

A:  When we talk about a first-time DUI, what we mean is that this is your first DUI conviction within the prior eighty-four months.  In that case, you are looking at a minimum ten-day jail sentence, all but one day of which can be suspended if you complete a drug/alcohol education program; at least $750 in fines and assessments; driver’s license revocation for at least 90 days; restitution, as ordered by the court; mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, the costs of which are your responsibility; and eight points on your license.  Your insurance costs will also increase substantially, and those increased costs will continue for a period of years after your conviction.

Q: What’s the difference between DUI and extreme DUI?

A:  Extreme DUI applies only in the case of driving under the influence of alcohol.  The distinction between the two is a function of your blood alcohol content (BAC).  In most cases, having a BAC of 0.08 or higher constitutes per se DUI, meaning that you can be convicted without any additional evidence of impairment.  But when your BAC reaches 0.15, it is known as “extreme DUI.”  And if you have a BAC of 0.20 or more, this is commonly referred to as “super extreme DUI,” although that phrase does not appear in the statute.  The effect of a conviction for extreme or super extreme DUI is an increase in jail time, and an increase in fines and/or assessments.

Q: What makes a DUI a felony, or “aggravated”, DUI?

A:  Sometimes people worry that because they were very impaired, on drugs, or in an accident, the DUI charge is a felony.  This is not so.  There are just a few main ways a DUI can become a felony.  The first and most common is when someone has as suspended license and gets a DUI.  If this is the case, your DUI might be a felony.  The second is that someone has received their third DUI in 84 months.  The third is that the DUI was committed with a minor in the car.  There are other charges, such as assault and endangerment, which can come about if an individual injures someone or is involved in a very serious motor vehicle accident.  While not technically DUI’s, aggravated assault charges are also felonies.

Q: Will I lose my driver’s license due to a DUI conviction?

A:  If convicted of DUI in Arizona, you are subject to a 90-day suspension of your driving privilege.  The first 30 days are straight, and the latter 60 days are restricted, if you complete a screening.  Visit www.azdot.gov for a list of approved screeners.  Second time offenders (those with DUI’s in the last seven years) are subject to a mandatory one-year revocation.  There is a way to get a restricted license after 45 days, however, if you fall under this category.  Aggravated DUIs also lead to revocations for an even longer period of time.

Q: Will I go to jail if I am convicted of a DUI in Arizona?

A:  Arizona has mandatory minimums for DUI convictions.  Jail can range anywhere from 1 day to 6 months.  To see where you fall on the spectrum, to facts are critical:  prior DUIs in the last 7 years and blood alcohol content.  A .08 BAC with no priors would serve 1 day in jail if there was a trial loss, whereas a .20 with one prior would serve 6 months.

Q: Is there home detention or house arrest for jail in DUIs in Arizona?

A:  Yes, in most courts there is the possibility of serving 80% of your sentence at home.