PHOENIX DUI LAWYER
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Phoenix DUI Charges
If you have been charged with a DUI in the Phoenix area, you need someone who has the necessary experience and qualifications to represent you. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we work diligently to research facts, investigate your case, and protect your rights while pursuing every legal option available to you.
Arizona DUI Laws
The legal federal limit for driving in the United States with alcohol in your system is with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. This applies to all state law regulations aside from Utah, which is 0.05%. In Arizona, if you are caught behind the wheel of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or above, you will receive a DUI charge. Most often, this will be a misdemeanor charge unless it is a repeated offense or there is an aggravating factor involved. We’ll discuss what an aggravating factor is later.
For a first offense DUI in Arizona, you face:
- Up to 10 days in jail
- Up to 5 years probation
- Hundred of dollars in fines
- Driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory alcohol screening and education
- Community service hours
This is true for general DUI charges with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.14%. If a driver’s BAC is found to be between 0.15% and .199%, the charge for a first offense becomes an extreme DUI. This includes similar but heavier punishments, including up to 30 days in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
For a second offense of an extreme DUI or for super extreme DUI’s (BAC over 0.20%), the penalties will increase. The more serious the offense, the harsher the consequences.
What is a DWI?
DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Driving drunk is illegal in all 50 states, and can apply to the operation of anything from a car to a watercraft to even a bicycle.
Depending on where you live, you may have heard this charge called a DWI, DUI, DWAI, or even OUI or OWI. Here is a breakdown of each of these acronyms:
- DUI - Driving Under the Influence
- DWI - Driving While Intoxicated
- DWAI - Driving While Ability Impaired
- OUI - Operating Under the Influence
- OWI - Operating While Intoxicated
Regardless of what it is called, if a law enforcement officer suspects you are too impaired to drive, you will receive one of these five charges. Impairment doesn’t only pertain to having alcohol in your system, though. Impairment can also be caused by drugs, medications, sleepiness, or other factors.
DWI vs DUI?
In some states, a DUI might be the same thing as a DWI, while in others, they may possess different meanings. In both cases, however, you are committing a crime and your driving record will be affected.
The significant difference between these two is that a DUI could mean driving under the influence of either drugs OR alcohol, or both. Drugs, in this case, can refer to illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medicine.
A DWI generally refers to driving while intoxicated (drunk). Though, there are some states that might classify DWI as driving while impaired. In this case, both DWI and DUI entail the same thing. The exact definition of each charge simply depends on which state the incident occurs.
Is a DUI a Felony in Arizona?
In most states, driving under the influence is treated as a misdemeanor, though repeat offenders often end up facing felony charges. Again, in the state of Arizona, the majority of DUI’s result in a misdemeanor. However, there are a few exceptions. Below are some situations of which Arizona considers “aggravating factors.”
If the driver received three or more DUI’s within a period of seven years, this would be considered an aggravating factor and may result in felony charges. Driving under the influence with a minor passenger below the age of 15 is also cause for a felony charge.
If a driver is arrested for a DUI while they have restrictions placed on their license (i.e., suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused), they may also be prosecuted with a felony charge. Finally, a DUI that results in an accident causing injury or death is certainly considered an aggravating factor and is often the most severely penalized in Arizona. In this case, the driver may receive a felony charge and faces multiple years of imprisonment.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?
In Arizona, receiving a DUI charge can result in two different records, each with their own consequences. The first record will be with the Motor Vehicle Department. The Motor Vehicle Department, or MVD, keeps track of all DUI convictions as well as other driving infractions by use of a point system.
A DUI conviction is equivalent to 8 points. These points will stay on your MVD for 5 years before automatically being relinquished. If you rack up too many points on your record within a certain amount of time, you may lose your license entirely.
The other record that your DUI conviction will appear on is your criminal record. The court system, FBI, Department of Public Safety, and other entities may have access to these records. Not only does it harm your reputation, but it can significantly affect your ability to get things like jobs, housing, or scholarships. Unless you are able to expunge or “set aside” your criminal DUI charge, it will remain on your record forever.