You’ve likely heard the saying since middle school: “Don’t drink and drive”. That’s because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs greatly influences your ability to drive safely. Driving under the influence doesn’t just affect the people who are driving drunk or high. The people it affects most are the innocent victims who have their lives turned upside down in an instant.  

The injury attorneys at Thompson Law Firm in Phoenix have significant experience in helping clients who have been victims of DUI.  Our offices are conveniently located in ChandlerPeoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or video call.  You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.

By the way, we will also help with other problems that have cost you sleep, like getting a rental car very soon and finding a nearby doctor who can help you. Even the best legal team isn’t good enough if your quality of life isn’t sustainable while justice and compensation are on the way. The whole point of legal action is to regain quality of life, so we help you long-term as attorneys and short-term as your go-to people.

Read Our Client Reviews

“After I was hit by a hit and run drunk driver this May I contacted Thompson Law Firm and it was the best decision I made. This was my first experience dealing with a law suit and the process was well handled by her team and fast thanks to Thompson Law Firm. I would definitely use them again if needed and recommend them to anybody I know who needs representation.” – Jonas Hill (Read this Review on Google)

“After being hit this May by a hit and run drunk driver and injured I called Thompson Law Firm. They were very professional and easy to work with. My case moved fast and I would definitely use them again if needed.” – Jay H. (Read this Review on Yelp)

About DUI

Here are some of the most common questions we get about DUI accidents, or you can read on to find out more information.

What kinds of punishments do drunk drivers get after a DUI accident?

How can a criminal court help pay for my injuries with restitution?

I was a DUI victim. What are my rights, and what laws protect me? 

How can I calculate the costs of being hit by a drunk driver?

How do I recover after being hit by a drunk driver?

What are the penalties for driving under the influence?

How can I recover mentally after being hit by a drunk driver?

My relative was killed in a drunk driving accident. What can I do?

Is a bar responsible for drivers who drive drunk?

What are my injuries after a DUI accident? Do I have a brain injury?

I was hit by a drunk driver. How can I prepare to be in court?

What are the differences between civil and criminal court for a DUI victim? 

How do I testify against the drunk driver that hit me?

How can my insurance help if I have been hit by a drunk driver?

Is over-serving someone a crime in Arizona?

How is the value of a fatal car accident determined?

Is drowsy driving the same as drunk driving?

How do I find out the BAC of the drunk driver who hit me?

What do I do if the person who hit me was taking prescription drugs?

What is the value of a fatal drunk driving accident?

What Is Driving Under the Influence? 

Arizona law makes it unlawful for a person to “drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle”… 

  • While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination of liquor, drugs, or vapor-releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree 
  • If the person has at least a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 within two hours of driving or being in control of the vehicle  
  • While there is any drug (from a long list) or its metabolite in the person’s body 
  • If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher   

Driving under any of these conditions is considered driving under the influence, or DUI.  

How Are DUI’s Different From Other Accident Types? 

The big difference is that driving under the influence breaks the law in Arizona. When you are the victim of a DUI accident, and you file a claim, you are filing a claim for a criminal case. You will have a criminal case against the driver, and perhaps a case against the bar that served them.

This is different than other accidents, like a rear-end, freeway, illegal left turn, or head-on collision. While these types of accidents are certainly dangerous and traumatizing for the victim, they are civil cases rather than criminal ones. In these scenarios, the at-fault driver placed others in danger because of their negligent actions, or through distracted driving. However, they did not break Arizona law to do so.

In other words, the at-fault drivers in those accidents will face a fine for damaging your property and injuring you. The at-fault driver in a DUI case faces jail time, fines, as well as other punishments for breaking the law. This is why people who are driving under the influence are more likely to commit a hit-and-run accident; they have more motive not to be caught.

What Are the DUI Penalties in Arizona? 

A person convicted of driving under the influence for the first time… 

  • Will be sentenced to serve no less than 10 consecutive days in jail and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence is served. 
  • Will pay a fine of no less than $250. 
  • May be ordered by a court to perform community service. 
  • May pay an additional assessment of $500 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • May pay an additional assessment of $500 to the public safety equipment fund. 
  • May be required by the department, on report of the conviction, to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device which will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the occupant breathes into it 

If a person is convicted of driving under the influence for a second time within 84 months of the first conviction (or under certain other circumstances), the person… 

  • Will be sentenced to serve no less than 90 days in jail, 30 days of which shall be served consecutively, and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence has been served 
  • Will pay a fine of no less than $500 
  • Will be ordered by a court to perform at least 30 hours of community service 
  • Will have his or her driving privilege revoked for one year 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the public safety equipment fund 

“Extreme” DUI is the condition of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more (i.e., about twice the legal limit or higher) within two hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle. 

A person who commits extreme DUI… 

  • Will be sentenced to serve no less than 30 consecutive days in jail and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence is served 
  • Will pay a fine of not less than $250 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $250 
  • May be ordered by a court to perform community service 
  • Will be required to equip any motor vehicle they drive with a certified ignition interlock device 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,000 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,000 to the public safety equipment fund 

A driver who has a second extreme DUI conviction within 84 months of the first one… 

  • Will be sentenced to serve no less than 120 days in jail, 60 days of which shall be served consecutively, and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence has been served 
  • Will pay a fine of no less than $500 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $250 
  • Will be ordered by a court to perform at least 30 hours of community service 
  • Will have his or her driver’s license suspended
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the public safety equipment fund 

What is Aggravated DUI?  

Aggravated DUI occurs when a person… 

  • Commits a DUI violation while their driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked, or while a restriction is placed on the person’s driver license or privilege to drive as a result of violating the DUI laws 
  • Within a period of 84 months commits a third or subsequent violation of the DUI laws 
  • While a person under 15 years of age is in the vehicle and commits a violation of the DUI laws. 
  • Commits a DUI offense after being ordered to install an ignition interlock device 

A person convicted of aggravated DUI… 

  • Will not get a new driver’s license within one year of the date of the conviction and must equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device 
  • Must pay an additional assessment of $250 
  • Will pay a fine of no less than $750
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,500 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • Will pay an additional assessment of $1,500 to the public safety equipment fund 

How Many Car Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving? 

Of the 129,750 car crashes in Arizona in 2019, 4,907 of them were drunk driving accidents, which accounts for nearly 4%. Of those, 85% occurred in Maricopa County.  

How Much More Likely Are You to Crash While Drunk?  

Let’s talk about this in terms of beer. Everyone’s tolerance is different, but generally speaking, 2 beers puts you at a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.04- half the legal limit. Let’s say you have 2 more beers to put your BAC at 0.08 (the legal limit). At this point, a driver is 11 times more likely to get into a crash than a person not driving under the influence.  

Let’s have 2 more beers- a 6 pack. Your BAC is now at least 0.10, and you are 48 times more likely to crash than someone who hasn’t drank.  

You’ve had a 6 pack already- say you have 2 more beers. Your BAC is now approximately 0.15, you are 380 times more likely to have an accident than someone not driving under the influence, and if you drive you are committing extreme DUI.  

Is Arizona a No Tolerance State?  

Arizona is a no tolerance, or 0 tolerance, state for DUI offenses. This means that you can be arrested for having a BAC of less than 0.08, particularly if you are driving recklessly 

Resources Near You 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Arizona 

FAQ’s for DUI Victims

Will I Have to Appear In Court? 

Chances are very low that you will have to appear in court. Even though driving under the influence is a criminal case, rather than a civil case like trucking accidents, and t-bone crashes, most cases are settled by a plea bargain. We try to settle every case out of court to save our clients time, money, and effort. On the extremely rare occasion that you will have to appear in court, we will help prepare you.

What Rights do I Have as the Victim of a DUI? 

As the victim of a crime, you have the rights to Safety, Knowledge, and Due Process.

Safety

As a victim of a crime in Arizona, you have the right to:

  • Keep your contact information confidential
  • Be notified of scheduled and unscheduled release dates and escapes
  • Be kept separate from the defendant
  • Petition the defendant’s release
  • Be present and informed of all criminal proceedings when the defendant has the legal right to be present
  • Speak with the prosecutor
  • Be treated with dignity and respect

Knowledge

As a victim of a crime in Arizona, you have the right to be informed:

  • Of all of your rights as a victim, as well as the knowledge of how to assert those rights
  • Of services that are available to you, including crisis intervention, medical and emergency services, victim assistance programs, and domestic violence resources

Due Process:

As a victim of a crime in Arizona, you have the right to participate in the criminal justice process, which includes the ability to:

  • Receive notice of all court proceedings
  • Be heard at all release, plea, and sentencing proceedings
  • Have the court order restitution/financial compensation
  • A speedy trial

You have the right to request:

  • A copy of the conditions of the accused’s release
  • Notice of release on bond
  • Notice of all court proceedings
  • That your personal property be returned
  • To be advised of the sentence imposed
  • Notification of any probation revocation or proceeding

What Is Arizona’s Process for a DUI Case? 

For most DUI cases, the process is as follows. If you have been in a hit-and-run accident, there will be a search for the at-fault driver prior to these steps:

  • Arrest: a police officer shows up at the scene of the accident and arrests the at-fault driver (defendant).
  • Initial Appearance: the defendant appears before a judge. They are informed of their right to an attorney and conditions for bail are set.
  • Filing of Charges: the defendant meets with an attorney and determines whether or not to take a plea bargain (an agreement to accept fault and waive the right to a trial in exchange for a reduced sentence or fine).
  • Arraignment: A judge reads the defendant the charges and a court date is set.
  • Plea Agreement: All parties (including you as the victim) must agree to the terms of the plea bargain, which is written out in this stage. Most cases never go to court because the majority of defendants take a plea bargain.
  • Trial: In the rare event that your case goes to trial, you/ your attorney will have to prove that the defendant was driving under the influence. From there, a jury will determine whether they are innocent or guilty.
  • Sentencing: Whether a plea bargain is struck or not, a judge will determine sentencing for the defendant.
  • Appeal: if the case went to trial, the defendant has 20 days to appeal the case.

Get Help Now 

At the Thompson Law Firm, we have more than 10 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their personal injuries, including those from DUI accidents. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office.

If you have been in a DUI car accident, contact Thompson Law Firm in Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in the greater Phoenix area including ChandlerGilbertMesaScottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.

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