Being involved in a car accident can change the lives of everyone involved. But it can be even more challenging when you and your loved ones are victims of DUI. When you are following the law and driving safely, yet is hit by a driver who got behind the wheel while intoxicated, it can feel very unfair—in addition to turning your life upside down.

If your family members become victims of DUI in Arizona, the driver may face DUI penalties. Of course, they must first be convicted of DUI. That may not always happen, especially if the driver’s attorney succeeds in getting the case thrown out of court. Also, the driver may not be convicted by a jury or judge if and when the case goes to trial.

Driving Under the Influence

Drivers who get behind the wheel while affected by alcohol and drugs account for nearly 33% of all traffic deaths across the US. Many of these drivers are not first-time offenders either, which makes the crime that much more upsetting. Their innocent victims of DUI are the ones who are left to suffer because of these drivers’ poor choices. Fortunately, they don’t have to suffer in silence. Personal injury attorneys, including the Thompson Law Firm, fights for these victims to ensure they are compensated for the selfish and reckless acts of DUI drivers.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a person is injured in a drunk-driving crash every two minutes. Plus, the average drunk driver is has driven drunk more than 80 times before their first arrest. This problem is pervasive and leaves in its wake a number of victims of DUI.

What Defines DUI in Arizona

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 an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical 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 more.

DUI Penalties in Arizona

A person convicted of DUI for the first time…

  • shall be sentenced to serve not 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.
  • shall pay a fine of not less than $250.
  • may be ordered by a court to perform community restitution.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $500 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $500 to the public safety equipment fund.
  • shall be required by the department, on report of the conviction, to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device.

Suspended Sentences for First-time Offenders

A judge may suspend all but one day (24 hours) of the sentence if the driver completes a court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment, screening, or education program.

If the driver fails to complete the program, he or she may have to serve the rest of his or her suspended sentence.

Repeat Offenders

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

  • shall be sentenced to serve not 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.
  • shall pay a fine of not less than $500.
  • shall be ordered by a court to perform at least 30 hours of community restitution.
  • shall have his or her driving privilege revoked for one year.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the public safety equipment fund.

Suspended Sentences for Repeat Offenders

A judge may suspend all but 30 days of the jail sentence for a repeat offender if the driver completed a court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment, screening, or education program.

Extreme DUI

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

A person who commits extreme DUI…

  • shall be sentenced to serve not 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.
  • shall pay a fine of not less than $250.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $250.
  • may be ordered by a court to perform community restitution.
  • shall be required to equip any motor vehicle he or she operates with a certified ignition interlock device.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,000 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,000 to the public safety equipment fund.

Repeat Extreme DUI Offenders

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

  • shall be sentenced to serve not 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.
  • shall pay a fine of not less than $500.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $250.
  • shall be ordered by a court to perform at least 30 hours of community restitution.
  • shall have his or her driving privilege revoked for at least one year.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,250 to the public safety equipment fund.

Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DUI occurs when a person…

  • commits a DUI violation while his or her driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused 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…

  • may 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.
  • shall pay a fine of not less than $750.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,500 to the prison construction and operations fund.
  • shall pay an additional assessment of $1,500 to the public safety equipment fund.

While the statistics surrounding driving under the influence may be staggering, they do not make the victims of DUI accidents feel any better. If you or a loved one has been injured or, worse, killed at the hands of a drunk driver, you owe it to yourself to seek compensation. Trust a knowledgeable, experienced law firm to help you navigate the path following such a devastating accident. Thompson Law Firm is your solution.

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