Interviewer: How many days in jail does a person get for DUI in Arizona?
Brian: It is one day, up to six months, on a first ever DUI. That is just because it is a Class I misdemeanor. There is no required sentence. There is no starting point sentence. That judge has complete open range to decide whether it is appropriate to give someone as low as one day in jail, or as high as six months in jail.
As far as fines and fees, the minimum required in Arizona comes to about $1,500 on your first ever DUI conviction. You already have at least one day in jail, and now you have at least $1,500 in fines and fees.
You are also required to have an ignition interlock device for one year. There is a certain circumstance where you could maybe get that reduced to six months. However, the ignition interlock device costs you some money as well.
You also have to go through counseling, which costs money and takes a lot of time. You have to go through alcohol or drug screening, counseling, education and/or treatment at an approved facility. You may have to do probation. Sometimes probation comes with fees. Again, your license is going to be suspended for the 90 days.
There is a lot a person has to go through, simply because they had one too many to drink and was maybe weaving down the street. Surprisingly, most DUIs are stopped.
Most of the people suspected of driving under the influence are stopped- not because they are weaving all over the road- but because they are driving at 1 or 2 in the morning. They happen to be out, and an officer will look for an excuse to pull them over. Commonly, we find people are stopped because they forgot to turn their headlights on or they had a license plate light out.
Also, Arizona law says the person has to turn into the closest lane practicable. According to the language, “They must turn into a lane, where practicable.” If you make a left turn, you have to end up in the closest lane to your turn. If you make a right turn, you have to end up in the closest lane to your turn. If you make a wide turn, that is a reason to pull you over.
Now, everyone makes a wide turn. It has nothing to do with impairment. Officers use excuses; such as these wide turns, failure to use a turn signal, speeding, license plate light or cracked windshield.
They really have nothing to do with impairment. Officers are particularly looking for these things as an excuse to pull someone over. Also, Arizona law says an officer can pull a person over for an actual or suspected traffic violation, which really allows officers to have carte blanche to pull anyone over.
That officer never needs to prove anything. All the officer needs to say is, “I think he was speeding.” They do not have to prove it. There does not have to be video. They do not need to have another witness. They do not need to have a radar reading.
Simply saying, “I thought he was speeding” is a good enough reason to stop a person and launch a DUI investigation.