Under Arizona law, people commit DUI involving property damage if they damage another auto or a street fixture while driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Drivers in this scenario can get charged with misdemeanor hit and run per ARS 28-662 or striking fixtures on a highway per ARS 28-665. Depending on the facts of the case, a prosecutor can even charge a driver with extreme DUI per ARS 28-1382 and/or aggravated DUI per ARS 28-1383. DUI involving property damage can result in misdemeanor charges that are punishable by time in jail.
- striking a car while driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%.
- hitting a parked car when driving under the influence and speeding away from the accident scene.
- colliding with a stop sign when driving intoxicated.
Arizona DUI lawyers draw upon several legal strategies to help clients contest criminal charges under these laws. A few common ones include attorneys showing that:
- a defendant was not impaired when he/she damaged property,
- the police arrested the wrong person, and/or
- a police officer arrested the defendant without probable cause.
Prosecutors typically charge instances of DUI involving property damage as a misdemeanor offense (as opposed to a felony charge). A conviction can result in:
- custody in jail, and/or
- a costly fine.
In this article, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys will discuss what the law is under these statutes, defenses available if charged, the penalties for a conviction, and related crimes.
1. How does Arizona law define “DUI involving property damage”?
In general, a prosecutor must prove the following elements to successfully convict a driver of DUI involving property damage:
- the defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence (of alcohol and/or drugs), or
- the defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle with a BAC above the legal limit of .08%, and
- the accused damaged property while driving.
Under Arizona’s DUI laws and Arizona criminal law, a prosecutor will typically charge a person with DUI in these cases along with a charge of either:
- ARS 28-662, or
- ARS 28-665.
Per ARS 28-662, people are guilty of misdemeanor hit and run if they:
- get involved in a car accident that causes damage to a vehicle, and
- knowingly fail to stop or remain at the accident scene.1
Per ARS 28-665, people are guilty of striking a fixture if they:
- get involved in a car accident that causes damage to a fixture on a highway or roadway, and
- fail to stop and attempt to notify the owner of the property.2
In these DUI cases, a prosecutor can even charge a driver with extreme DUI and/or aggravated DUI.
Under ARS 28-1382, drivers are guilty of extreme DUI if they drive with a BAC of 0.15% to 0.199%.3
Under ARS 28-1383, drivers are typically guilty of aggravated DUI if they:
- engage in drunk driving with a driver’s license suspension,
- drive impaired when an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in the vehicle, and
- receive a third DUI.4
2. Are defenses available?
Yes. People have the right to challenge DUI charges with a legal defense. Three common defenses in these cases include defense lawyers showing that:
- an accused was not driving while intoxicated.
- a police officer arrested the wrong person.
- the police arrested a driver without probable cause.
2.1. Not driving under the influence
Recall that defendants are only guilty of a crime in these cases if they damaged property while driving impaired. If the police were not able to conduct a breathalyzer test to determine an accused’s BAC level, a defendant can challenge a charge by showing that he/she was not under the influence at the time of the accident. If successful, though, a defendant may still have to face a charge of non-DUI hit and run.
2.2. Arrest of the wrong person
An accused can try to contest a charge in these DUI cases by showing that the police arrested the wrong person. Hit and run cases, and allegations of failing to stop a vehicle, often involve drivers traveling at high speeds. This means that sometimes law enforcement may not get a good glimpse of the guilty party.
2.3. No probable cause
Police must have probable cause before they can detain or arrest a suspect of a crime. If a person was stopped or arrested for DUI, and there was no probable cause, then any evidence obtained following the improper stop/arrest could get excluded from the case. This exclusion could result in the dismissal or reduction in charges.
3. What are the penalties for this DUI offense?
A person guilty of DUI involving property damage has to face the standard penalties for driving under the influence.
A judge can impose additional penalties depending on if a driver is guilty of violating another law.
For example, if an accused is found guilty of hit and run under ARS 28-662, the result is a Class 2 misdemeanor conviction. The crime is punishable by:
- up to four months in jail time (as opposed to time in state prison), and/or
- a maximum fine of $750.5
A conviction of striking fixtures under ARS 28-665 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by:
- up to six months in jail, and/or
- a maximum fine of $2,500.
If a driver gets charged with aggravated DUI under ARS 28-1383, he/she may face a felony charge that is punishable by:
- at least four months in prison,
- $4,000 in fines, and
- a minimum 1-year driver’s license suspension.6
Finally, if a driver gets charged with extreme DUI under ARS 28-1382, he/she may face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge carrying 30 days of jail time, a 90-day license suspension, and about $2,500 in fines.
4. Are there related offenses?
There are three crimes related to DUI involving property damage. These are:
- DUI – ARS 28-1381A1,
- super extreme DUI – ARS 28-1382A2, and
- DUI on a suspended license – ARS 28-1383A1.
4.1. DUI – ARS 28-1381A1
Under ARS 28-1381A1, DUI is the offense where someone drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of:
- a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or
- any combination of liquor, drugs, or vapor.
As with the offense of DUI involving property damage, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor offense. Possible penalties include:
- jail time,
- a 90-day driver’s license revocation, and
- community service.
4.2. Super extreme DUI – ARS 28-1382A2
Under ARS 28-1382A2, super extreme DUI is the crime where people drive with a BAC of 0.20% or higher.
As with charges of DUI involving property damage, people can contest charges of super extreme DUI with the defense that police stopped them without probable cause.
4.3. DUI on a suspended license – ARS 28-1383A1
Per ARS 28-1383A1, DUI on an invalid license is the crime where people drive under the influence after a driver’s license suspension, license revocation, or license cancelation.
Unlike charges of DUI and property damage, charges under this statute are always filed as felony offenses.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, we invite you to contact our law firm/law offices at the Shouse Law Group. Our legal team provides both free initial consultations and legal advice you can trust.
Our DUI attorneys also represent clients throughout the State of Arizona, including those in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Tempe.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 28-662.
- ARS 28-665.
- ARS 28-1382.
- See ARS 28-1383.
- ARS 28-662.
- ARS 28-1383.