Consequences of driving under the influence in Arizona

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Driving while intoxicated is not only unsafe for drivers, it can cost a lot in the form of fines and penalties and as a result of DUI, a person may face mandatory jail or prison sentence. A DUI conviction can change the whole life of a person, so don’t make the roadways unsafe for yourself or for others by consuming alcohol or by using drugs that affect your thinking ability before driving.

According to Arizona law, it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if a person is under the influence to the slightest degree due to any drug or alcohol. This also includes prescription drugs. Under the laws of the state, an impaired person cannot say it in his/her defense that he has taken a prescribed medicine like narcotic pain medication. Driving a motor vehicle with a BAC level of more than 0.08 percent is against the law of Arizona. If a person has alcohol concentration more than 0.08 percent in any of his bodily substance like breath or blood, he/she is said to be under the influence of an intoxicant. Arizona law also has a provision that allows a person to be convicted of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle while there is a drug or its metabolite in the person’s body.

No one can give an exact answer to the question of how many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit? Every person has different and unique characteristics that determine their BAC score. Other than that, different variables like weight, gender and percentage of body fat also contribute in determining the BAC level of a person. One drink is considered equal to one 12-ounce beer, one 3-ounce glass of wine or 1 ounce of hard liquor. A small amount of alcohol can make a person legally impaired and a little alcohol can increase it above the legal limit. Therefore, it is advised to take zero drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Underage drinking is not allowed in Arizona. If any person below the age of 21 years consumes alcohol and drives a motor vehicle, the law can presume intoxication. The driver’s license of an underage drinker is cancelled for 2 years and he/she has to pay additional penalties as underage drinking is not tolerated in Arizona.

DUI penalties are severe for people of legal drinking age. A person convicted of DUI for the first time faces a mandatory prison sentence, cancellation of driver’s license and has to pay more than $1,490 in fines. Requirement of probation, installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle, GPS ankle monitoring device, community service, alcohol abuse evaluation and alcohol treatment can be included in it.

In Arizona law, there is a section called as “Aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence.” A person is said to be guilty of aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence of any intoxicant if the person does any of the following:

  • Drives a motor vehicle under the influence while his/her driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked or refused, or while a restriction is placed on the person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive as a result of a prior DUI, or DUI-implied consent refusal. During a DUI investigation, if a person refuses to give a breath or blood sample for chemical testing, he/she has an automatic suspension placed on driving privileges.
  • Drives a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and has a person less than 15 years of age in the car.
  • Commits a 3rd DUI, within a time period of 84 months.
  • Drives under the influence of an intoxicant, while the person is ordered by court to install a certified ignition interlock device in his/her vehicle.

A person convicted of aggravated DUI with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, he/she may not be placed on probation until after the person has served at least 4 months in state prison. A person convicted of aggravated DUI for the third time is not eligible for probation until the person has served at least 8 months in state prison.

Fines and assessments more than $4,655 are mandatory for a person charged with an aggravated DUI.

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