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November 4, 2019

What Happens When I am Charged with DUI/DWI in Arizona?

Filed under: Arizona Criminal Law — admin @ 10:06 am

It has been a record summer for DUI news. In June, Tempe police arrested 62-year old man for his ninth DUI, which was his third in just three weeks. The man’s blood alcohol level was recorded at .153 and he was charged with aggravated DUI.

Just a month later, a Tolleson man was involved in a DUI car crash that resulted in the death of a seven-year old girl. He was charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault, DUI, and hit and run.

These are extreme examples of what can happen when someone makes the choice to drive under the influence. They are also very real examples of what you could be up against after making just one poor decision. Here’s what you really need to know about DUI/DWI laws in Phoenix – and how you can avoid additional charges if you are pulled over.

What are the DUI/DWI Laws in Arizona?

Arizona is notorious for its strict zero tolerance policies for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. You can be arrested with any amount of alcohol in your system, even if it’s lower than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The exact laws which pertain to DUI/DWI in Arizona are as follows:

Title 4-241: selling alcohol to an underage person or illegally obtaining liquor by underage person

Title 28-1381: driving under the influence

Title 28-1382: driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .015 or more

Title 28-1383: aggravated driving under the influence

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides a resource for residents to use to help determine their estimated level of intoxication based on the number of drinks consumed. While this guide is a not a license to behave irresponsibly, it may help the public determine what exactly constitutes the difference between a standard offense and higher offenses like Extreme DUI or Super Extreme DUI.

What to Do if You Are Pulled Over in Arizona

If you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI/DWI, you are not required to complete field sobriety tests. You are, however, required to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. The Arizona Department of Public Safety actually has a DUI mobile processing van that supports its officers on the highway. If it’s available, you may be tested right there on the road. If not, you may be obliged to go back to the police station so these tests can be administered. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test will result in loss of driving privileges for anywhere from 12 to 24 months. You will also be required to complete additional screening before reinstating your license.

You have the right to legal counsel if you are pulled over. Call your criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. It is perfectly fine to call your attorney while the police are present. In fact, many police officers will allow you to stay on the phone with your lawyer in the police car on your way to the station. When you get there, politely decline to speak with anyone until you have legal counsel present.

The Penalty for DUI/DWI

Most DUI offenses in Arizona are classified as misdemeanors. The exceptions are Extreme DUI and Aggravated DUI, which are both felony offenses. Jail time, screening and counseling are required for all types of DUIs in Arizona. Community service is a little more flexible and is typically not required of first-time offenders.

The most common types of DUI charges are as follows:

BAC Offense Jail Fines Driver’s License Suspension Interlock Community Service
0.08%+ Standard DUI (first offense) 10 days About $1,500, plus jail costs, $80 monitoring fee 90-day suspension or one-year revocation 12 months N/A
Standard DUI (second offense) 90 days (eligible for home detention after six days) About $3,500, plus jail/home detention costs, $80 monitoring fee One-year revocation 12 months 30 hours
0.15%+ Extreme DUI (first offense) 30 days (home detention eligible after two days) About $2,780, plus jail/home detension costs, $80 monitoring fee 90-day suspension 12 months N/A
Extreme DUI (second offense) 120 days (home detention eligible after 24 days) About $3,740, plus jail/home detention costs, $80 monitoring fee One-year revocation 12 months 30 hours
0.2%+ Super Extreme DUI (first offense) 45 days (home detention eligible after 3 days) About $3,240, plus jail/home detention costs, $80 monitoring fee 90-day suspension 18 months N/A
Super Extreme DUI (second offense) 180 days (home detention eligible after 36 days) About $4,650, plus jail/home detention costs, $80 monitoring fee One-year revocation 24 months 30 months

Can You Expunge a DUI in Arizona?

Expungement refers to the process of having a charge permanently removed from your record. In Arizona, true expungement does not exist unless you are a juvenile under the age of 18. For adults in Arizona, the only option is a process called “setting aside a conviction.” While expungement removes the charge from a person’s record entirely, a set-aside simply restores the rights that were originally lost due to the conviction. The charge remains visible on your record.

You can actually view your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) by going to and following the steps provided. There is a small fee to check your MVR, but you will be able to view all records related to your driving history. Please note that non-traffic/non-license criminal offenses are not listed within this record. Criminal offenses may be viewed by going to

In order to have a DUI/DWI conviction set aside, you must meet certain requirements put forth by the state of Arizona:

  • Pay all fees/fines in full
  • Complete probation successfully
  • Complete any jail sentence
  • Attend all mandatory classes
  • Comply with court-mandated orders, like installation of an Ignition Interlock Device

Keep detailed records of everything you do to comply with the terms of your sentence. These documents will be used by your criminal defense lawyer to build a solid case in your favor.

When It’s Time to Get Help

While our criminal defense attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome for your case, it’s important to remember that there are additional resources available if you are struggling and would like support. Please visit Alcoholics Anonymous to learn more about meetings near you.

One bad decision doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you are in need to a criminal defense lawyer to fight a DUI/DWI charge, contact The Blumenreich Law Firm to request legal counsel. Our team will help you understand your options and navigate the tricky legal waters.