Is a First-Time DUI a Felony in Arizona?
Let’s say you had a few drinks and got pulled over by law enforcement in Arizona for suspected driving under the influence. Although you felt like you were under the legal limit, you ended up blowing a 0.09. Now what?
Countless thoughts might be running through your head, like “will I receive jail time?” or “is my first DUI a felony?” This article will answer these questions and dive into penalties and legal defenses you can use for your case.
Understanding Arizona’s DUI Laws
Driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, known as a DUI, is illegal in Arizona. If you have illegal drugs in your system or blow over a 0.08 BAC, law enforcement can make an arrest and charge you with a DUI.
The severity of your DUI depends on the circumstances. Did you cause an accident? Were you driving recklessly? Traditional DUIs that don’t involve injury to other parties are less serious compared to causing a collision or damaging personal property.
Arizona classifies first-time DUIs as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you will not have a felony on your record when you receive your first DUI.
What are the Penalties for DUI in Arizona?
There are three different levels of DUI penalties: general, extreme, and aggravated. General DUI penalties, which are common for first-time DUI charges, are punishable by more than 10 consecutive days in jail, fines of at least $1,250, and a mandatory ignition interlock device. You may also be required to take mandatory alcohol screening and education courses.
Extreme DUI penalties are more severe and occur when your BAC is over 0.15. This charge comes with at least 30 days in jail, minimum fines of $2,500, mandatory screening and education, community service, and installation of an interlock device on your vehicle.
Aggravated DUI penalties are the most severe for first-time DUI charges. These charges are common if minors are in the vehicle when you are pulled over. Penalties can include all of the charges found in extreme DUI cases, plus up to two years of jail time.
What Legal Defenses Can You Use for a First-Time DUI?
When it comes to defending your first DUI, there are a few different approaches you can take. First, be sure the blood or breath sample that law enforcement obtained was legal. If you were pulled over for no reason and ordered to take a breathalyzer, the results might not be admissible in court.
Next, it’s important that you evaluate the information that proves you were intoxicated when arrested. The prosecution needs to have adequate proof that you were intoxicated or driving in an unsafe manner. Any weaknesses can help your defense.
Finally, if you were charged with a chemical DUI, go through the validity of the chemical testing. Labs can make mistakes, which is why it’s important that you are thorough with your evaluation of the results.
Are you facing your first DUI in Arizona? If so, it’s time to reach out to a qualified expert that can uncover any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to minimize your penalties, jail time, and more.
Our team at The Law Office of Zayed Al-Sayyed can do just that. Reach out to schedule your consultation today.