DUI laws in the state of Arizona are some of the strictest in the country. If you find yourself facing DUI charges in the city of Tempe, below are some questions you likely are seeking answers to.
What types of DUI charges can you face in Tempe?
You may face five DUI charges in Arizona, with some being classified as felonies and others as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor DUI is one of the most common charges when a person is in control of a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, you can be charged if you are deemed to be “impaired to the slightest degree.” You also can be charged with a misdemeanor DUI if your BAC is 0.08% or higher within two hours of operating a motor vehicle.
Extreme and SUPER DUI charges are misdemeanors resulting from BACs over 0.15% and 0.20%, respectively.
You may be charged with an aggravated DUI if you have had two or more previous DUI convictions, have a passenger below the age of 15 with you, are traveling the wrong way, or are charged when your license is suspended or revoked. Aggravated DUIs are felony charges that often result in jail time.
The final type of DUI charge you may face is an Underage DUI which can be given if a driver is underage and tests positive for alcohol on their breathalyzer.
What standards are required to be charged with a DUI in Tempe?
In the state of Arizona, police will use the standard “impaired to the slightest degree” when determining whether a driver is suspected of a DUI. While the state holds the BAC level cutoff of 0.08% that other states do for legal age, they also allow a driver to be charged if they are showing any signs of impairment.
This means that no matter how low your BAC level is, if the arresting officer feels you are exhibiting any sign of impairment, they can arrest you, and you can be charged with DUI. There are different ways that a police officer may check for impairment, such as standard roadside sobriety tests. In some cases, they may rely on witness information if you are seen to be swerving or driving erratically. This means even drowsy drivers may be suspected of being under the influence.
What are penalties can you face for a DUI in Tempe?
First-time offenders can receive probation, community service, fines, traffic school, and even jail time. In addition, if you are convicted of an alcohol DUI, you will have to install a certified ignition interlock device for at least a year on your vehicle. Your license will also be suspended for at least 90 days, though the suspension can be reduced to a 30-day restricted permit if you agree to regular alcohol and drug screening.
Extreme and Super DUIs will carry stiffer penalties with 30 days or more in jail in addition to the other above penalties, though the penalty duration will be longer. If you are convicted of an Aggravated DUI, you will be required to serve a minimum of four months in jail, receive at least a year of license suspension, pay fines, and go to alcohol or drug counseling.
An Underage DUI charge can result in up to ten days in jail, up to $1,600 in fines, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension.
Subsequent convictions for DUIs will result in higher fines, a longer suspension, and longer potential jail time. In the case of Extreme or Super DUIs, repeat offenses will come with mandatory jail time of sixty days and six months. A third DUI offense can result in an Aggravated DUI charge.
Can you refuse a breathalyzer or chemical test?
It is always your right to refuse a breathalyzer. Still, under the state’s implied consent provision, you are consenting to chemical testing if suspected of DUI when you operate a vehicle. Refusal will result in a minimum license suspension for a year for the first time and two years for a second refusal.
If your license is suspended due to a breathalyzer refusal, you can contest the DUI suspicion at a hearing in front of a judge as long as it is done 15 days from the day you refuse the test. If your license is suspended for refusing a test, you will not be able to apply for a restricted license.
What do you do after being charged with a DUI?
If you are charged with a DUI, you should contact legal representation as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. Retaining legal counsel will help you understand your options, help you navigate the legal process, and give you a chance for the best possible outcome.