| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI

DUI charges are typically classified as misdemeanors in the state of Arizona.

This means that if you are convicted of a DUI, you could face jail time and fines, but your record will not be affected as severely as it would if you were convicted of a felony.

In this article, we will discuss what constitutes a misdemeanor DUI charge in Arizona, and what penalties you could face if convicted.

When is a DUI Considered a Misdemeanor?

are duis misdemeanors

In Arizona, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor when you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher or you drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs even to the slightest degree. This means that you could still be charged with a DUI even with a BAC lower than .08% if you are even slightly impaired.

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IMPORTANT: If you are facing a misdemeanor DUI charge in Arizona, having a strong DUI defense attorney on your side can be the difference between a light sentence and a harsh one. DUI cases are complicated and require a skilled attorney who knows the ins and outs of Arizona DUI law.

Stewart Salwin explains When is a DUI a Misdemeanor in Arizona

Are all DUIs Misdemeanors in Arizona?

Generally, all first-time DUI convictions are a Class 1 misdemeanorARS § 28-1381 An incident will be considered a DUI first offense misdemeanor if there has not been a prior DUI within the last seven years. However, a DUI can be a felony if any of the circumstances occur:

  • You were driving on a suspended license
  • You were transporting a child under 15 years old
  • You were driving on the wrong side of the road.

Note: Arizona has three classes of DUI depending on your BAC. An ordinary DUI if your BAC is 008% to 0.149%; an Extreme DUI if your BAC is 0.15% to 0.199%; and a Super Extreme DUI if your BAC is .20% or higher.

What are the Penalties for a First DUI?

Your first-time DUI conviction in Arizona carries the following punishments:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for one year
  • Drug and alcohol screening, education, or treatment
  • Traffic survival school course 

You could also face jail time, depending on your BAC level. If your BAC is .08% to .149%, you could face 10 days in jail and at least $1,250 in fines. For any BAC between .15% to .199%, you can face up to 30 days in jail and $2,500 in fines. Any DUI with a BAC of .20% or higher faces 45 days in jail and at $2,750 in fines.

Note: Second and third offense DUIs in a seven-year period carry much harsher punishments. And, if you have a DUI that causes serious injury or a fatality, you can be charged with aggravated assault or manslaughter.

Are There Defenses to a DUI?

There are several possible defenses that you could use to fight a charge of DUI, including, 

  1. You were never in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  2. There was no reasonable suspicion to make the initial traffic stop.
  3. The officer conducted the breath test without a 15-minute observation period.
  4. The blood test samples were contaminated.
  5. The breathalyzer results were incorrect.
  6. You suffer from a medical condition that causes the breathalyzer to return false high BAC results.
  7. The arrest was not based on probable cause.
  8. You were not given accurate instructions for the field sobriety test.

Talk to an Experienced DUI Lawyer

DUI cases are complicated and require a skilled attorney who knows the ins and outs of Arizona DUI law.

DUIs carry harsh penalties that can follow you for years.

Salwin Law Group offers a free consultation for DUI cases. There is no obligation. We are happy to have you as our client, and we are confident you will be as satisfied as our many previous clients with the experience they received. But if you don’t think our firm is the right fit for you, that’s no problem! Mr. Salwin will happily refer you to other Arizona DUI attorneys that he knows personally.

We want what is best for you.

This is the philosophy of Salwin Law Group. We are always straightforward and honest with our clients. You owe it to yourself to get the benefit of an elite defense.

Call Salwin Law Group at (480) 702-1789 or fill out one of our short contact forms online to schedule your free consultation.

Author Photo

Stewart Salwin

Stewart Salwin is the founder and lead attorney at Salwin Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, just outside of the greater Phoenix area. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, where he was taught criminal law by world-renowned defense attorneys.

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