Do you know if a DUI is a felony in Arizona or a misdemeanor?
Driving under the influence is a serious crime all over the United States, and Arizona is no exception. Arizona is one of the toughest states on DUIs. All citizens in Arizona automatically consent to a blood alcohol concentration if they hold a driver’s license. Any DUI will have very serious consequences, but there are some situations where prosecutors can enhance charges and penalties.
In this post, Phoenix criminal defense attorney Belen Olmedo Guerra will discuss the differences between a misdemeanor and felony DUI in Arizona. We’ll also discuss the penalties for various DUIs in Arizona.
Felony DUI Arizona: What are the Different Types of DUIs?
Aside from misdemeanor DUIs, there are various types of felony DUIs where the prosecution can enhance or increase the charges.
When an officer pulls you over and gives you a sobriety test, you may end up with one of four charges: DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, or Aggravated DUI. Arizona considers a basic DUI a misdemeanor. An Aggravated DUI is also a misdemeanor. An Aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony in Arizona.
A DUI occurs when your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08 percent, or above 0.04 percent if you are in a commercial vehicle.
The charge becomes an Extreme DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 percent or above, or 0.020 or above in a commercial vehicle. Again, this is still a misdemeanor in Arizona.
An Aggravated DUI is a felony in Arizona. This will be your charge if you commit a DUI with a revoked, suspended, or canceled license, among other circumstances that we’ll talk about more below.
Felony DUI Arizona: What are the Penalties for DUIs?
DUI penalties for first-time offenders may seem relatively mild. However, when you continue to collect DUIs, the penalties increase exponentially.
Let’s break down the penalties for the various types of DUIs in Arizona.
Remember, this is a misdemeanor charge.
The penalty for a first-offense DUI is between 1 to 10 days of jail time. There may also be a fine of no less than $250 plus surcharges. The state may also suspend your license for 90 days.
The state could also mandate that you equip your vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device. This is a Breathalyzer device that prevents your car from starting unless you “blow” a blood alcohol concentration below a certain level.
There are other penalties the state can enforce, such as requiring you to attend alcohol treatment and screening, or community service.
For subsequent DUI convictions, each of these penalties increases. Second-time offenders may face 30 to 90 days in jail, and a fine of $500. The state could revoke your license for one year. A third DUI violation in seven years becomes a felony DUI in Arizona.
This is also a misdemeanor charge unless subsequent charges pile up within seven years.
For a first offense, you could face 30 to 45 days in jail. Your fines could total up to $2500, and Arizona could suspend your license for up to a year. You will definitely need to equip your vehicle with an ignition interlock device. There will be alcohol treatment and screening, and community service as well.
Second-time offenders may face between 120 to 180 days in jail. There will be fines and assessments not less than $3250. The state of Arizona may also revoke your license for up to a year. The ignition interlock device will go on your vehicle, and the state will require you to attend alcohol treatment and education courses.
This is when a misdemeanor DUI becomes a felony DUI in Arizona.
Any offense of aggravated DUI carries mandatory prison time. The state will revoke your driver’s license, and require you to attend alcohol treatment, screening, and education. There may also be extensive community service hours.
When is a DUI a Felony in Arizona?
We’ve talked about some of the circumstances that upgrade a misdemeanor DUI to a felony. Let’s break down all of them.
Under Arizona law, there are many ways a misdemeanor DUI can become a felony DUI. Here are some examples:
Three DUIs in Seven Years
We already talked about this one a little.
Multiple DUI convictions are an aggravating factor in DUI cases. Motorists can face felony charges for three DUI convictions within seven years.
This doesn’t mean that you will face felony allegations for the next DUI after three. If you have two prior DUI convictions, and an officer arrests you for a new conviction, you could face felony charges.
DUI with a Minor Passenger
Arizona will aggressively penalize motorists who endanger children by driving under the influence. If an officer arrests you for DUI and you have a passenger in the car under the age of 15, you may face felony charges.
DUI with a Suspended License
Drivers may face felony charges if they get a DUI while their license is suspended. The state can also bring felony charges if a court has revoked, canceled, or refused the driver’s license. There may also be felony charges if there are restrictions on the driver’s license at the time of the arrest.
DUI Causing Injury or Death
In DUIs that involve accidents resulting in injury or death, Arizona prosecutes the drivers very harshly. As very serious felonies, these charges may carry years of mandatory prison time, as well as steep fines.
Contact the Belen Law Firm
Belen Olmedo Guerra is an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney. At the Belen Law Firm, we understand that cases like felony DUIs require sensitivity and discretion. We know that there is more at stake than just freedoms; we know that a person’s reputation is also at stake. Give us a call 24/7, or you can also leave us a message on our website to set up a free and confidential initial consultation.