Arizona DUI Laws

Breaking Arizona DUI laws can lead to serious consequences. If the driver does not file an SR-22 AZ DUI laws dictate that their license may be suspended.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 18, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Statistics show a decrease in alcohol-related accidents and fatalities in Arizona
  • Arizona has 6 misdemeanor DUI charges as well as 3 felony DUI charges
  • Penalties in Arizona vary according to first, second, and third-time DUI offenses
  • Certain insurance, like SR-22, is required once you have been convicted of a DUI
  • Having a DUI in Arizona also affects car insurance rates

Breaking Arizona DUI insurance laws is a serious driving offense! The penalties that come with breaking Arizona DUI laws can be severe.

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There is no state that is lenient on DUIs, and Arizona is no different. Since 1982, Arizona has been cracking down on drunk drivers. State laws for car insurance are also heavily enforced.

Statistics show that there were almost a hundred fewer alcohol related accidents in 2009 than there were in 1982 and almost half the amount of drivers driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08.

There were 219 alcohol-related fatalities in 2009, 22 of those involving citizens under the age of 21. When compared to 1999, this is a massive improvement. There were 45.9% fewer fatalities among all drivers, and 63.6% fewer fatalities among those under the age of 21.

Those who drove with a BAC of .08 or greater were involved in fatal accidents 64% of the time, while those with a BAC of .15 were involved in fatal accidents 87% of the time. Almost 40,000 people were arrested in Arizona for drinking and driving in 2009.

What constitutes an Arizona DUI?

 

In Arizona there are 6 misdemeanor DUI charges that you can receive for driving under the influence.

  • DUI -Impaired only slightly by alcohol or drugs
  • Commercial DUI – Driving a commercial vehicle with body alcohol content above .04
  • Minor DUI – Under 21 years old with any alcohol in system
  • Regular DUI – Driving with body alcohol content above 0.080
  • Extreme DUI – Driving with body alcohol content above 0.150
  • DUI of Drugs – Any trace of an illegal drug in your system

These are the lightest charges you can receive, and they come with the softest penalties. Along with those, there are 3 felony charges that you can receive for a DUI.

  • Aggravated DUI Involving Priors – You have 2 or more DUI convictions in the United States within 7 years of the arrest
  • Aggravated DUI with a Suspended License – Your driving privileges were revoked, suspended, or restricted when you were charged with DUI
  • Aggravated DUI with a Minor in Vehicle – Driving with a minor in the vehicle while under the influence

These are serious offenses and will result in very harsh penalties. There are also serious penalties for driving without insurance!

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DUI Laws in Arizona

DUI laws in Arizona are made up the following three types:

  1. Case law is law based on the writing of a similar, prior case. It is often called judge-made law, referring to the influence that judges have in deciding a case.
  2. Legislature is simply laws passed by Arizona state congress.
  3. The Arizona Administrative Code is the rule book for state agencies.

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DUI Penalties for Arizona

The penalties for a DUI are dependent on first any prior convictions of DUI, and second the severity of the crime.

A misdemeanor DUI will stay on your record for 7 years. All levels include a fine and you may go to jail for a DUI in Arizona at any level.

1st Arizona DUI Offense

  • Fines – If convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you can expect to pay around $1600 in fines to the state of Arizona, and possibly more.
  • Jail Time – You will receive a minimum of 24 hours in jail that may extend up to, but no more than 10 days.
  • License Suspension – A driver charged with a misdemeanor DUI will have his license suspended for at least 90 days, up to a year maximum.
  • Counseling – Alcohol and substance abuse screening may be required.

As you would expect, the penalties go up as you rack up convictions.

And so will your car insurance rates!

2nd Arizona DUI Offense

  • Fines – If convicted for a second time of a misdemeanor DUI, you can expect to pay up to $2500 in fines to the state of Arizona, and you will also have to pay $1000 for the ignition lock on your vehicle after your license is reinstated.
  • Jail Time – You will receive a minimum of 90 days in jail and a maximum of 6 months. The maximum is rare but not unprecedented. You also may be required to do at least thirty hours of community service.
  • License Suspension – A driver charged with a second misdemeanor DUI will have his license suspended for a year.
  • Counseling – An alcohol class will be required.

The penalties for a third conviction will vary depending on when you receive it. If within 7 years of a prior DUI, then you will be charged with an Aggravated DUI and face harsher penalties.

3rd Arizona DUI Offense

  • Fines – If convicted for a third time of a misdemeanor DUI, you can expect up to at least $4000 and possibly face fines of up to $150,000. You will also have to pay for the ignition lock on your vehicle after your license is reinstated, which is $1000.
  • Jail Time – You will receive a minimum of 4 months in jail, and a maximum of 2 years, depending on the case.
  • License Suspension – A driver charged with a third DUI will have his license suspended for a year and three years for an aggravated DUI.
  • Counseling – An alcohol class will be required in addition to community service.

If you are convicted for a fourth time, it will be a felony, and jail time will be severe. You can also expect to lose your license for a long time. You might not be able to get car insurance with a suspended license.

The penalties will also become much more severe if you are charged with an extreme DUI.

The increased penalties for extreme DUIs are as follows:

Arizona Extreme DUI Offense

 

  • Fines – If convicted, expect to pay about $2500 in fines and $1000 for the mandated ignition lock.
  • Jail Time – You will receive a minimum of 24 hours in jail that may extend up to, but no more, then 10 days.
  • License Suspension – A driver charged with an extreme DUI will have their license suspended for a year.
  • Counseling – An alcohol class will be required, as will community service.

If you receive another extreme DUI conviction within 5 years of a prior one, then the penalties will be more severe.

Arizona Insurance and DUI Convictions

What happens to car insurance after a DUI? Do you need an SR-22 to reinstate your license? If your driver’s license is suspended due to a DUI conviction, you are required to have SR-22 insurance before it can be reinstated. You must have an SR-22 for the following three years.

This type of insurance is available from any auto insurance company licensed in Arizona, and failure to possess this will result in another suspended license.

The minimum car coverage for insurance in Arizona still applies.

How much does SR-22 insurance cost? Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements in Arizona
• $15,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $30,000 for two or more persons
• $10,000 property damage liability

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