Arizona DUI laws are strict; the state has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence. This means you can be arrested, even if your blood alcohol levels are under 0.08 percent, or if police officers have any reason to believe you’re impaired.

An overview of Arizona DUI laws

If you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is illegal for you to drive, period. There are no exceptions in Arizona. In fact, obtaining an Arizona driver license means you consent to being tested for alcohol or drugs if you’re suspected of being impaired. If you’re pulled over and there’s question of driving under the influence, you’ll be asked to consent to a blood, breath, urine or another bodily substance test.

If you’re found to be driving under the influence, there are a few scenarios:

  • Lost driving privileges. This happens immediately, if you’re found to have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater. And, if you’re under 21, your license will be suspended if there’s any alcohol concentration discovered.
  • If you don’t submit to the tests (or successfully complete them), again, you’ll lose your driving privileges for 12 months. This will get bumped up to 24 months if there’s a second refusal. You may also get hit with court penalties for refusing a second or third offense testing.
  • First offense: Expect jail time for at least 10 days, plus a fine of at least $1,250. On top of this, you’ll be asked to go through an alcohol education program, go to Traffic Survival School, and be expected to complete community service hours. Plus, you will have to use a certified ignition interlock device, a tool that controls your ignition and measures your blood alcohol levels before you can use the vehicle.
  • Second offense and on: You will be sent to jail for at least 90 days and fined at least $3,000. Expect an alcohol treatment program and required community service. Plus, installation of a certified ignition interlock device in any vehicle you use.

Other levels of DUI: extreme and aggravated

Extreme DUI applies to those who are found with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more. Extreme DUI cases have different consequences. Offenders are jailed for at least 30 days and fined $2,500. If your alcohol concentration is even more than 0.15, jail time is 45 days or more. Community service, an alcohol treatment program and a certified ignition interlock device are all required.

Aggravated DUI is an even more severe case. These offenders have violated the law while their license is suspended, revoked or canceled. Or, they’ve committed their third offense in 84 months, or with a person under 15 with them in their vehicle. The result: prison for two years, a revoked license for one year, community service, a treatment program, and a certified ignition interlock device.

Cracking down on drunk drivers

Throughout the holidays, police officers and DUI task forces increase their coverage. They set up DUI checkpoints across the Valley, as well as blanketing the Phoenix metro area with a higher concentration of police officers than usual. These dates are often publicized on local news channels and typically begin a few days pre-holiday.

If you see someone that you suspect is driving under the influence, call 911 to report them.