When you get a DUI in Arizona it is because your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .08%. If you are pulled over for this, you will first undergo a field sobriety test. While you can refuse to take the test, doing so will result in an automatic one-year suspension of your license for your first offense and an automatic two-year suspension for every subsequent offense.
Penalties You Will Face If Convicted of an Arizona DUI
There are several tiers of DUI in Arizona – all of which are class 1 misdemeanors, which means you will spend 10 – 180 days in jail and pay fines of $1,500 – $4,650 in fines along with other suspensions and restrictions.
These tiers include:
The first tier is known as a “standard DUI.” It means you have a BAC of .08% or .04% when driving a commercial vehicle.
When your BAC is over .15% you will get charged with an “extreme DUI.”
At .20% BAC you will get charged with a “super extreme DUI.”
You can also find yourself charged with an aggravated DUI in a few circumstances. This is a class 4 felony, which means you will spend at least four months in jail and pay at least $4,000 in fines.
You will be charged with this if you:
– Get charged with a DUI when you have a revoked, canceled or suspended drivers’ license
– Are charged with your third (or more) DUI within seven years
– Drive drunk with a minor who is under 15-years-old (this is a class 6 felony)
– Drive drunk with an interlock device installed in your vehicle
Indirect Consequences of an Arizona DUI
While you may understand the legal penalties you will face for a DUI in Arizona, you may not understand the unforeseen consequences of your actions.
– Increased insurance rates because you must now have an SR22 form (an agreement between the insurance company and DMV that they will insure you and immediately notify the DMV if you cancel your policy) since you are considered a higher risk to insure. How much your insurance rises depends on your situation and your previous driving record.
– You may be banned from traveling outside the United States (e.g. Canada considers a DUI a felony and will not let you in their country)
– Most employers run a background check and regardless of your qualifications, they may still not hire you – this often goes back as far as 10 years. Depending on your line of work, you may even lose your job.
– If you are authorized to drive, you may be required to have an ignition interlock installed in your vehicle for up to a year. This may cost you $1,000 or more.
How Treatment can Help you Get Your Life Back
Life after a DUI in Arizona changes drastically. However, if you seek treatment for an alcohol problem now, the judge may take this into consideration during your sentencing.
There are a few ways you can do this, including:
Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous will have people who have been where you are at and can walk with you through your struggle, give you advice, and help you sort out your feelings. These meetings are a safe place for you to discuss your emotions, hear other people’s stories, and your attendance shows the court you are trying to control your addiction.
Counselors and therapists are more personalized, which is especially great when you are walking through your initial stages of recovery. Sometimes this is court mandated as part of your sentence. Do not let this upset you because your life is about to become very stressful and you will need a healthy way to cope with this stress – tools your therapist can help you with.
Addiction treatment is beneficial because typically a DUI is a sign of a bigger problem. While this is not always true, you may discover that you are addicted to alcohol – especially if you do so more than once. This is a very dangerous activity. Not only are you risking your own life, but you are also risking the lives of the people around you. Most people make this irrational choice because they are powerless over alcohol. This is a serious disease that is beyond your control and will destroy your life if it is not treated.
Regardless of what type of treatment you choose for your alcoholism, there are two main components to treatment. These include:
Detox: This is when you stop drinking and go through withdrawal. During this time your body is getting rid of all of the alcohol in it. This is something that you should do in a professional treatment facility because alcohol withdrawal can be deadly.
Rehab: Once you have completed detox, you should take this step next. During this time, you will learn how to manage your addictive behavior. This is done by meeting with doctors and counselors for individual therapy sessions. You will also spend time attending group support meetings with other addicts.
There are two main ways in which you can get this help when you need it:
Inpatient or residential treatment is when you live at the treatment center for several weeks while working to get sober.
Outpatient or non-residential is when you attend daily sessions at the facility then return home at night. There is no “one size fits all” treatment modality here.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
Regardless of anything else you do, you should hire an attorney. You cannot expect to represent yourself in court. With the help of a strong lawyer, you will be less stressed and it is likely that you will have your charges reduced and may even get to keep your license. Lawyers know how to fight for a “plea bargain” which may include community service and a suspended license instead.
To start taking steps towards getting the help you need and recovering your life, reach out to us at Alcohol Screening Arizona today at (602)687-9481. We have helped many people restore their lives after a DUI. We can help you, too!