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Does Arizona Really Have The Toughest DUI Laws?

Arizona has long been known as a state with incredibly tough DUI laws.  However, recent evidence shows that Arizona may truly have earned the title of “toughest DUI state in the nation.” Multiple studies have suggested that overall Arizona has the country’s harshest penalties for DUI.  While other states may allow DUIs to stay on your driving record longer or have higher fines for certain infractions, Arizona has the strictest overall laws and penalties, including:

  • Zero tolerance. One thing that differentiates Arizona from other states is the zero tolerance police the state adopts to alcohol use and driving.  In Arizona, you can be arrested for DUI even if you do not have the requisite .08 percent blood alcohol level.  While authorities must prove that you were impaired, if they can do so, you can be convicted of DUI with any blood alcohol level.  Additionally, those under 21 can automatically be charged with per se DUI with any BAC level.
  • Mandatory jail time. At the very minimum, you will be sentenced to 10 days in jail with your first DUI conviction.  While judges will often waive most of this jail time in exchange for a guilty plea and other penalties, you will be required to spend at least 24 hours in jail.  In addition, you can be ordered to spend up to six months in jail with a first offense, depending on the circumstances.
  • Arizona’s fine structure for DUIs means that you will probably pay thousands of dollars, even for a first-time misdemeanor conviction.  Between the actual fines as well as fees for probation, required classes and other costs, you could easily spend several thousand dollars before you complete all the requirements of your guilty plea.
  • Driver’s license suspension. Arizona law requires that your driver’s license be suspended after a DUI conviction. Your first conviction will require you to wait at least 12 months before you drive again, and your car insurance prices will likely go up significantly when you return to driving.
  • Ignition interlock devices. Arizona requires the placement of an IID in any vehicle driven by someone with a previous DUI conviction.  With the use of an IID, you can get your license back sooner, but you will be required to pay the fees associated with the device, which can be expensive.

If you have been arrested for or charged with DUI in Arizona, you must take the situation seriously.  Contact the DUI attorneys at the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix for help immediately.

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