According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Arizona apprehends about 27,000 drunk drivers each year and charges them with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). 

It doesn’t take a lot of drinking to reach a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in the state.

For each 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce measure of hard liquor, your BAC generally rises about 0.02 percent. Depending on your body weight and other factors, that means as few as three or, at most, five drinks will put you near or over the limit. 

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge, it’s essential to seek professional legal advice immediately. Understanding the intricacies of DUI laws and the penalties involved can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. 

Contact our team at Faussette & Faussette in Phoenix, Arizona, for skilled and compassionate legal representation. We have years of experience handling DUI cases and will work tirelessly to defend your rights and protect your future.

What Constitutes a DUI in Arizona?

In Arizona, a DUI charge can arise from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

However, for commercial drivers, the threshold is lower at 0.04%, and for drivers under the age of 21, any detectable amount of alcohol can result in a DUI charge. Furthermore, Arizona law also covers driving under the influence of drugs (both illegal and prescription drugs that impair driving ability). 



Penalties for DUI Offenses in the State

The penalties resulting from a DUI conviction in Arizona vary depending on different factors, including whether or not it is your first offense. The escalating levels of penalties include: 

  • First offense: Jail time of 10 to 45 days, a minimum of $500, and 90 days to one year of driver’s license suspension. Additional requirements may include a MADD Victim Impact Panel. 

  • Second offense: Jail time of 90 to 180 days, a minimum fine of $500, and a license suspension of one year. 

  • Third offense: Prison time of four months minimum, a minimum fine of $750, and a license suspension of one year. 

All offenses require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on all of your vehicles, meaning you cannot start your vehicle without passing a BAC breath test. 

In addition, penalties can stiffen based on your class of DUI: 

  • A basic DUI is one with a BAC above 0.08 percent and below 0.15 percent 

  • An extreme DUI is one with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher 

  • An aggravated DUI is possible when your driver’s license has already been suspended, revoked, or canceled; it’s your third DUI within seven years; a passenger in the car was under the age of 15, or you refused to submit a breath sample while under an IID mandate. 

A “Baby DUI” applies to drivers under 21. In these cases, any level of BAC is considered a DUI. Also, even if you’re 21 or older, you can still be charged with a DUI when though your BAC is below 0.08 percent. 

The Role of DUI Lawyers

Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming, but having a skilled DUI defense attorney by your side can significantly influence the outcome. DUI attorneys are well-versed in local laws, and they can identify weaknesses in the prosecution's case, potentially reducing or even dismissing the charges. 

Attorneys at Faussette & Faussette PLLC employ a variety of defense strategies tailored to the specifics of your case. These strategies may include: 

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop: Questioning whether the officer had a valid reason to stop you in the first place. 

  • Questioning BAC results: Investigating the accuracy and administration of breathalyzer and blood tests. 

  • Examining police conduct: Ensuring that your rights were not violated during the arrest process. 

With their expertise and strategic approach, DUI attorneys can make a substantial difference in mitigating the consequences of a DUI charge and safeguarding your future. 

About Our Firm

At Faussette & Faussette PLLC, we pride ourselves on providing dedicated and personalized legal services to our criminal defense clients.

Our team, led by Jacob Faussette and Nicholis Faussette, serves clients throughout Phoenix and the greater Valley area, including Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Goodyear.

Arizona DUI FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about DUI laws and penalties in Arizona to help you better understand your rights and what to expect if charged with a DUI. 

What should I do immediately after being charged with a DUI? 

When an officer pulls you over and starts questioning you about your condition or whether you’ve been drinking too much, remember that anything you say can be used against you.

You are entitled to have an attorney present for questioning.

Be polite and acknowledge the officer’s questions, but you should exercise your right to say as little as possible. Once you state your name, and show the officer your license, insurance, and vehicle registration, tell the officer that you will answer any further questions with an attorney present. 

Reach out to a DUI attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you have professional representation, the better your chances of navigating the legal process effectively. 

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test in Arizona?

Another myth or misunderstanding of the law is that you do not have to submit to a breathalyzer test. Under Arizona’s “implied consent” laws, all drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. If you refuse, your license will be suspended for one year. A second incident and refusal results in a two-year suspension. 

Some people arrested for a DUI feel that it’s not worth fighting the charge and it is better just to plead guilty and get it over with. However, this assumes that stopping you and your vehicle was made with clear probable cause, that the breathalyzer or blood test was administered correctly, and that the arresting officer didn’t overstep their boundaries in arresting you by violating your rights.

There are several valid defenses to DUIs, and some drivers can get the charges dropped or reduced with good legal representation. 

How can a DUI affect my insurance rates?

A DUI conviction can significantly increase your insurance premiums. Insurers view DUI offenders as high-risk drivers, which translates to higher costs. 

Are there alternatives to jail time for DUI offenders? 

In some cases, first-time offenders may be eligible for alternative sentencing programs, such as alcohol education classes or community service. Discuss these options with your DUI attorney to see if they apply to your case. 

Can I be charged with a DUI, even if I wasn't driving?  

A DUI charge seems to imply that you’re actually operating your vehicle. However, this is not always the case. Just sitting in your car with keys ready or in the ignition can also result in a DUI charge. 

Even “sleeping it off” in your car can lead to a DUI, though it sometimes can be a defense as well. The “sleep it off” defense asks the judge or jury to decide whether you were using your car as shelter, or whether you were just delaying the public threat of drunk driving. 

How long will a DUI charge last on my record? Can I expunge a DUI charge?

Another concern for people with DUI convictions is how long the offense will stay on their record. The short answer is “forever.” However, keep two things in mind: The notation on your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record expires after five years. Your criminal record, though it lasts forever, does not factor into a second DUI offense after seven years.

In other words, a second DUI after seven years will again result in a first-offense charge. 

You can request an expungement of your criminal record, which is called “setting aside” your conviction. The court may grant this depending on how long it’s been since your conviction, the severity of the offense, and your overall behavior since conviction. 

DUI Attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona 

Facing DUI charges in Phoenix can be daunting, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Legal counsel can make a world of difference in navigating the complexities of DUI laws and penalties. At Faussette & Faussette PLLC, we are dedicated to providing you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you build a strong defense.