Aggravated DUI in Arizona
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Arizona takes DUI offenses very seriously. Driving under the influence comes with severe consequences, even for first-time offenders. When these charges are aggravated due to other factors, the penalties increase significantly. A DUI conviction can bring your life to a halt and cause a major amount of stress. If you’ve been charged with an aggravated DUI in Arizona, contact the Bélen Law Firm right away. Our Phoenix DUI defense lawyers are ready to provide proactive and aggressive legal counsel for your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (602) 715-0908.
What is an Aggravated DUI in Arizona?
A regular DUI charge is a misdemeanor, and a conviction can lead to fines, driver’s license suspension, an ignition interlock device, and up to ten days in jail. This charge includes you blowing a 0.08 percent or above on a breathalyzer test.
An extreme DUI involves blowing between 0.15 and 0.19 percent on a breathalyzer. This is also misdemeanor, but a conviction carries mandatory prison time of 30 days and many of the same consequences as a regular DUI.
A super extreme DUI conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 45 days in jail, substance abuse classes, and an ignition interlock device. A super extreme DUI is also a misdemeanor charge. A super extreme DUI can be pursued if you blow .20 percent or above on a breathalyzer.
A.R.S. § 28-1383
Meanwhile, an aggravated DUI in Arizona is a felony DUI offense.
An aggravated DUI is a DUI charge with aggravating circumstances. Under A.R.S. § 28-1383, five circumstances can lead to an aggravated DUI charge. These circumstances include:
- Driving under the influence with a child under 15 years of age
- Driving under the influence with a suspended or revoked license
- Driving under the influence with two or more DUIs in the past seven years
- Driving under the influence with an ignition interlock device
- Driving under the influence while on the wrong side of the road
Any of these circumstances means a typical misdemeanor charge becomes a felony. With so much on the line, it’s important to contact an attorney with extensive knowledge of Arizona DUI law. Bélen Olmedo Guerra has defended hundreds of DUI cases with many successful outcomes.
What’s the Difference Between a DUI & DWI?
In many places, DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are interchangeable. In Arizona, DUI and DWI are two separate criminal charges. A DUI is based more on the behavior the police officer observes at the time of the arrest. A DUI also includes drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs or vapors.
A DWI, by contrast, focuses mainly on your blood alcohol content, or BAC. Driving over the legal limit (0.08% blood alcohol level) can result in a DWI charge, even if you weren’t driving recklessly.
What are the Penalties for a Conviction of Aggravated DUI?
Arizona law classifies the penalty for an aggravated DUI conviction into two different types of felonies depending on the aggravating factor. Driving under the influence with a minor in the car is a Class 6 felony, which is the lowest type of felony charge. All other aggravating factors can result in a Class 4 felony conviction.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI While Transporting Minor
Driving under the influence with a minor in the car is a Class 6 felony that comes with mandatory jail time. In addition to mandatory jail time, the penalty for this can include:
- License suspension of at least one year
- A minimum $4,000 fine
- An ignition interlock device installed in all vehicles for a minimum of 24 months
- Substance abuse treatment
- Traffic school
- Vehicle forfeiture
The mandatory minimum jail time depends on the blood alcohol concentration of the driver.
|Blood Alcohol Content Level
|Minimum Jail Time for First Offense
|Minimum Jail Time for Second Offense
|.08% – .149%
|.15% – .199%
|.20% or higher
Penalties for Aggravated DUI With Other Aggravating Factors
For all other aggravated DUI charges, the penalty includes more mandatory prison time and the same penalties as a Class 6 felony charge. Driving under the influence with a suspended/revoked license, multiple DUIs on record, with an ignition interlock device, or while on the wrong side of the road can result in a Class 4 felony conviction. The penalty for a Class 4 felony conviction under these circumstances includes a minimum of four months in prison. If you have more than three DUIs in the last seven years, the minimum prison time is eight months. You also face a penalty of thousands of dollars in fines, an ignition interlock device installed in all vehicles at your expense, license suspension, and vehicle forfeiture.
Consequences for Aggravated DUI in Arizona
In addition to criminal penalties, a felony conviction in Arizona carries many other consequences. Unlike a misdemeanor DUI conviction, a felony aggravated DUI conviction is a “forever felony.” Forever felonies can increase the penalties on any future offenses you may be charged with. A felony conviction can result in a loss of constitutional rights like voting and the right to bear arms. People with felony convictions on their record also often have a much more difficult time finding employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
An aggravated DUI in Arizona could also lead to deportation if you are not in the United States legally. Even immigrants with permanent residence and visas can face immigration consequences following an aggravated DUI charge. Licensed professionals can also face serious consequences for an aggravated DUI conviction. Nurses, teachers, doctors, and commercial drivers risk losing their jobs over an aggravated DUI conviction.
If you’ve been charged with a felony aggravated DUI, using a legal team with a comprehensive knowledge of the Arizona legal system is imperative to your case. At Bélen Law Firm, our 24-hour Phoenix criminal defense lawyer can make sure your rights are protected and your freedom is secure.
What are Possible Defenses to my AZ Aggravated DUI Charge?
In a criminal defense case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution team. They must prove to a jury of your peers that you are guilty of the alleged crime beyond a shadow of a doubt. The award-winning DUI defense attorneys at Bélen Law Firm are ready to fight your felony DUI charge.
A few common defenses include:
- Constitutional rights violations during the traffic stop or arrest
- There was no reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop
- Validity of field sobriety tests
- Validity of BAC test or drug tests
- Driver did not have actual physical control of the vehicle
Can an Aggravated DUI Charge be Reduced?
Aggravated DUI charges can be reduced if the prosecution team cannot prove that you were driving under the influence or that the aggravating factors existed. These charges can often be reduced to a misdemeanor DUI or even dismissed altogether.
Do I Need a Lawyer for my Aggravated DUI Charge?
Navigating the criminal justice system can be overwhelming, even if you believe you’re fully prepared. In a court of law, the only one on your side is your criminal defense attorney. Having an attorney-client relationship can protect your rights and increase your chances of having the charges dropped or reduced.
Like we mentioned, aggravated DUIs are known as a “forever felony,” which means that it has a compounding effect on penalties for future charges. Many first-time offenders assume they will see leniency in the criminal justice system, but this is a common and very wrong misconception. A prior DUI offense can increase the penalties you see in future allegations. A Phoenix DUI attorney at Bélen Law Firm can make sure that your case has the best defense possible.
Phoenix Aggravated DUI Defense Attorney
DUI convictions can stay on your record and have lasting effects on your life. At Bélen Law Firm, you can rest assured that our team will fight aggressively for your freedom. We treat every case with the attention and dedication it deserves. Our Phoenix DUI defense lawyers know the extreme consequences that can result from an aggravated DUI offense. Call us at (602) 715-0908 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced AZ criminal defense attorney like Bélen Olmedo Guerra today.