A DUI can change everything. Drivers are arrested, spend time in jail, and they tend to lose driving privileges. These punishments alone can be crippling – and that’s all before the first court appearance. The potential consequences for DUI in Arizona only mount from there. The State of Arizona issues severe penalties for DUI convictions – some of the harshest in the nation. These can stretch for years with fines ranging well into the thousands of dollars. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Phoenix or the Maricopa County area, you need a DUI lawyer on your side.

DUI Charges in Arizona

DUI charges in Arizona vary depending on the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver’s body, the driver’s age, the type of vehicle involved, and more. If you’ve been charged with DUI in Arizona your charges might include:

Regular DUI ARS §28-1381. Drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content/concentration) of 0.08% or above, or who are impaired to the slightest degree by any amount of alcohol or drugs, may be charged with a regular DUI. Drivers with a commercial license may be charged with a standard DUI for a BAC testing at only 0.04% or above. Drivers under 21 are subject to no tolerance in Arizona and may be charged with a standard DUI for any detectable amount of alcohol in their system regardless of its effect on their ability to drive.

Extreme DUI ARS §28-1382 (A)(1). As the measurable amount of alcohol in the bloodstream increases, so does the severity of the DUI charge. Drivers with a BAC measuring 0.15% or above can be charged with Extreme DUI, facing penalties much greater than those for Regular DUI.

Super Extreme DUI ARS §28-1382(A)(2). A limited number of states, with Arizona numbering among them, include Super Extreme DUI as a potential DUI charge. Super Extreme DUI charges can result when driver’s BAC measures 0.20% or greater. While technically a misdemeanor charge, Super Extreme DUI charges carry significant penalties for conviction.

Drug DUI ARS §28-1382(A)(3). Drivers can find themselves facing Drug DUI charges when suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of illicit or prescription medication, or for testing positive for metabolites associated with illicit drugs. This includes doctor-prescribed medications, medical marijuana, other intoxicating substances, and illegal drugs. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the drug or its metabolite affected the driver’s ability to drive, merely that it was present at the time of driving.

Aggravated DUI ARS §28-1383. Independent of a driver’s BAC, an aggravated DUI is a DUI committed under aggravating circumstances. These include driving under the influence with a suspended, revoked, or otherwise invalid driver’s license, driving under the influence with minors aged 15 years or younger in the vehicle, and committing a third DUI offense within a period of 84 months. Aggravated DUIs are felonies that carry mandatory prison sentences.

Penalties for DUI in Arizona

Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicants places drivers and others at risk. To reduce the risk to public safety, the State of Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. The penalties for DUI arrest start the moment an officer makes an arrest. From there, drivers can expect a stay in jail and a loss of driving privileges – and that’s all while still presumed innocent. Drivers found guilty of DUI in Arizona face greater penalties. The punishments can be severe even for first-time offenders. Their severity will depend on the charges, the driver, and their legal defense.

Jail Time

In the State of Arizona, anyone convicted of a DUI faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence. A jail sentence can disrupt employment, and lead to numerous other challenges.

  • Regular DUI: 10-day minimum jail sentence, 30 days for a second offense.
  • Extreme DUI: 30 days in jail for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense.
  • Super Extreme DUI: 45 days in jail for first offenders, 180 days for a second offense.
  • Aggravated DUI: 4 months minimum prison sentence.


Those convicted of DUI in Arizona are subject to more than jail time. Paying fines can prove challenging after serving a jail or prison sentence and losing driving privileges. Fines range from approximately $1500 for a first-time Regular DUI to several thousands in fines and jail costs for more serious or subsequent DUIs. Additionally, DUI cases often involve accidents or property damage for which the court can order thousands of dollars in restitution.

Additional Penalties

In most DUI convictions, drivers can face additional penalties and challenges which may carry additional expenses. These include:

  • Extended loss of driving privileges
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Completion of mandated drug and alcohol education classes
  • Community service hours
  • Successful completion of a drug or alcohol screening for reinstatement of driving privileges

Defending Against DUI Charges in Phoenix

You have a right to defend against the charges brought against you. DUI cases are not ‘open and shut.’ In many cases, DUI charges are brought against drivers with evidence that can be challenged by a skilled DUI attorney. Elizabeth goes beyond DUI defense, helping clients navigate administrative hearings with the Motor Vehicle Division to protect your license. She will personally and vigorously challenge any driver’s license suspensions or revocations following a DUI arrest.

In court, Elizabeth has helped clients obtain not-guilty verdicts in all types of DUI cases, across the State of Arizona. She has won DUI cases based on both breathalyzer readings and blood sample results. From first-time offenders to those with a bit of history, she will work hard on your behalf for the best possible outcome in your DUI case.