What is an Extreme DUI?
An “Extreme DUI” in Arizona is a misdemeanor criminal charge for those driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or more. ARS 28-1382(A)(1) is the statute that defines an Extreme DUI. The penalties for an extreme DUI are harsher than for lower level DUIs, but they are not as severe as those for a super extreme DUI or an aggravated DUI. However, they are very serious and include a minimum of 30 days in jail and a minimum fine of $3,790.
ARS 28-1382 Defined
The law that makes driving with a BAC over .15% a crime is ARS 28-1382(A)(1). This statute states:
- “It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows 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: 0.15 or more but less than 0.20.
If your alcohol concentration is over a 0.20, then you can be charged with what is known as “Supreme Extreme DUI.” This charge carries the harshest penalties for first-time DUI offenders.
Penalties for Extreme DUI
The penalties that you may have for Extreme DUI depend on whether this is a first-time offense or if you have prior DUIs on your record (or if your prior DUIs are more than 7 years old, in which case they will not count against you). If other aggravating factors are present, then the state may be able to charge you with a felony DUI instead of a misdemeanor.
First-Offense Extreme DUI
Even if this is your first DUI, however, the punishment is still pretty severe. You will be facing:
- Mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail.
- Over $2500 in fines & jail costs (up to $10,000).
- Mandatory alcohol classes and screening.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your car for a year (at a cost of $1500).
- Community service.
- 90-day suspension of your driver’s license.
If you are eligible for a 20-day suspension of your jail sentence. This, however, is in the discretion of the court and is not automatic. If 20 days are suspended, then you would still be required to serve 10 days in jail.
Second-Offense Extreme DUI
If you have a prior DUI of any kind within the last 7 years, you can be charged with a Second-Offense Extreme DUI. In other words, it does not matter what type of DUI you were convicted for in the past, it could just be a regular DUI, but if your BAC for your second DUI is between a 0.15 and a 0.20, then you will face Second Extreme DUI penalties. These are very severe and involve significant jail time. You will be facing:
- Mandatory minimum of 120 days jail. No days can be suspended.
- Over $3,500 in fines & jail costs.
- Mandatory alcohol classes and screening.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your car for 18 months.
- 30 hours of community service.
- 1-year license revocation.
Third-Offense Extreme DUI
If this is your third DUI of any kind within the past 7 years, and your BAC is over a 0.15, then the government has two options when it’s deciding how to charge you. It might charge you with a misdemeanor Extreme DUI. This DUI would be subject to the same mandatory minimums of a Second-Offense Extreme DUI discussed above, but it you would likely face increased penalties.
The more likely route, however, would be for the state to charge you with an aggravated DUI. This type of DUI is a felony and is discussed in more depth here.
Insurance Consequences for an Extreme DUI
When you are convicted of a DUI and you have car insurance, you can expect your premiums to go up significantly. You will be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate in order to get insurance when you have a DUI on your record. You will also need to maintain this insurance for at least 3 years and will pay over $3000 in added premiums above your current rate.
Business Licenses and Extreme DUI
With a DUI conviction, you also face consequences from professional licensing boards. If you are a lawyer, doctor, nurse, real estate agent, or hold some other professional license, a DUI conviction risks you losing your professional license when the governing board discovers it. It goes without saying that this has significant consequences for your reputation and personal finances.
Common Defenses to Extreme DUI
If you have been arrested for an Extreme DUI, we can help you fight your charges and avoid the harsh penalties you would face for a conviction. We offer a free consultation, and if you hire us, we can conduct an investigation of your case to determine what defenses apply to you that we can use to fight the criminal charges you face.
Potential DUI defenses that may apply to you include:
- Denial of Right to Counsel: You have a constitutional right to speak with a lawyer of your choice after you are placed under arrest. Sometimes the police refuse to let you call an attorney or they delay your right to call a lawyer until it is too late. If this happened to you, you may be eligible to get your entire case dismissed because of the importance that the justice system places on this fundamental liberty.
- Improper Field Sobriety Tests: The police in Arizona often use what are known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests when conducting DUI investigations after pulling a driver over. These tests are developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and they must be performed properly to have value as evidence against you. More often than they would like to admit, officers that are not familiar with DUI investigations try to perform the sobriety tests do so incorrectly. We can use the officer’s improper investigation to negotiate for a favorable plea deal or fight for an acquittal at trial.
- No “Actual Physical Control”: You will notice in the law against DUI that it require evidence of driving or “actual physical control.” Everybody knows what driving is, but “actual physical control” is a more complicated concept. You will hear of cases where the somebody pulls their car over to the side of the road to sleep it off instead of continuing to drive impaired. This is commendable behavior, and it can save lives. But if the police pull up to you while you’re asleep in the car they can still try to arrest you for DUI. There are many ways to fight a DUI charge like this, however. We will carefully examine where you were positioned in the car, whether the car’s ignition was on, where the keys were located, and other factors to fight the accusation that you were violating the law. Often these types of cases can have jury appeal as well, meaning that a jury might be less inclined to convict if they feel you were doing the right thing by pulling over. This can be used as leverage to negotiate a favorable plea deal or it can be effective trial strategy to secure a “not guilty” verdict.
- Inaccurate Blood/Breath Tests: In Arizona, breath test machines must be calibrated on a regular basis to be accurate. They are also subject to a plus or minus 10% margin of error. If your BAC reading is on the edge or a 0.15 and is within that 10% margin of error, then we have had success with getting the charges lowered to a regular DUI or less.
How Salwin Law Can Help you Today
If you are facing charges for Extreme DUI, you should seek the counsel of an experienced DUI attorney immediately. The initial consultation is free, so there is no risk to you, but the potential benefit of having us discuss your possible defenses and case strategy can be immense. If you hire us, we will fight to get you the best possible results for your situation. This may include:
- Reduction of charges.
- Dismissal of charges.
- A “not guilty” verdict at trial.
We have a history of success in defending against DUI charges, and our numerous 5-star reviews speak to our high-rate of client satisfaction. Stewart Salwin is a former prosecutor and has handled DUIs as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer. He knows DUIs inside and out and has seen the cases from all angles. This allows him to be effective in his negotiations with the prosecutors to get charges lowered or dropped. And if the case goes to trial, it means he knows the best defenses that really work to give you greatest chance of success.
If you’ve been arrested for an Extreme DUI, there is hope! Call the Salwin Law Group today, and we will begin to work on preparing your defense immediately. We serve the greater-Phoenix area, including Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Goodyear. You will be kept informed and have the process explained every step of the way. Together, we can help you get your life back.