Extreme DUI in Arizona is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% to 0.199%. A first-time extreme DUI conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor carrying 30 days of jail time, a 90-day license suspension, about $2,500 in fines, an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year, traffic school, and alcohol screening, education, and/or treatment.
In this article, our Arizona criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is “Extreme DUI” in Arizona?
- 2. What are the penalties under ARS 28-1382(A)(1)?
- 3. Will I lose my license?
- 4. How can I fight the charges?
- 5. Can I get an Extreme DUI conviction set aside?
1. What is “Extreme DUI” in Arizona?
Extreme DUI is driving with a BAC of 0.15% to 0.199% in Arizona. It is called “extreme” because the BAC range is higher than for a regular DUI, which is 0.08% to 0.149%.1 Even motorists with high alcohol tolerance are likely impaired when their BAC reaches “extreme” levels.
If the defendant’s BAC was 0.20% or higher, then prosecutors would instead press charges for super extreme DUI. This is the most serious non-felony driving under the influence offense, and the penalties are much harsher.2
2. What are the penalties under ARS 28-1382(A)(1)?
Extreme DUI punishments in Arizona increase with each successive DUI in a seven-year period.
Extreme DUI offense
Penalties in Arizona
|1st offense in 7 years||Class 1 misdemeanor: |
|2nd offense in 7 years||Class 1 misdemeanor: |
|3rd offense in 7 years||Class 4 felony: |
DUI defendants may also have additional expenses, such as alcohol monitoring, bail and jail costs
3. Will I lose my license?
In Arizona, a first offense extreme DUI case in seven-years carries a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. A second offense carries a one-year revocation. And a third offense carries a three-year revocation.4
Extreme DUI defendants may keep their license if they with both the criminal court case as well as the administrative case with the Arizona Motor Vehicles Department (MVD). Winning one and not the other will still trigger a license suspension.
The MVD hearing is similar to a trial: The defendant’s attorney can appear on his/her behalf and present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. But MVD hearings are much more difficult to win than criminal cases, which require prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The MVD can suspend the defendant’s license with far less evidence than criminal judges require.
4. How can I fight the charges?
An Arizona DUI defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation in search of any “weak links” in the state’s case that may raise a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt. Depending on the facts, the following defenses may persuade the District Attorney to dismiss an extreme DUI charge:
- Law enforcement had insufficient reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop.
- The defendant had a difficult time performing the field sobriety tests since the officer gave incorrect instructions.
- The police officer lacked sufficient probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
- The officer did not wait 15 minutes before administering the breathalyzer chemical test.
- The breathalyzer machine had not been properly calibrated.
- The people in charge of calibrating the breathalyzer let their certification lapse.
- The blood test samples became contaminated.
- The failing breath test resulted from a non-alcohol-related medical condition, such as GERD, acid reflux, or auto-brewery syndrome.
- The defendant seemed intoxicated because he/she was having a non-alcohol-related medical episode, such as a seizure or diabetic coma.
If prosecutors refuse to dismiss the case, they may agree to reduce it to a regular DUI if there are questions about the accuracy of the BAC results. A regular DUI carries a lesser jail sentence and fines than extreme DUI does.
5. Can I get an Extreme DUI conviction set aside?
Defendants who completed all the terms of their extreme DUI sentence are usually eligible to have the case set aside. The case will still show up on background checks since Arizona does not permit “sealing” or “expungements.”5 But having a case set aside indicates to potential employers, landlords, and creditors that the defendant took responsibility for their actions and have moved on in a positive way.
Contact our experienced attorneys if you’re facing felony or misdemeanor DUI / DWI charges. Our DUI lawyers serve clients throughout Arizona, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, and more.
- ARS 28-1382(A)(1). (The legal limit for ordinary DUI is below 0.08%. People driving with the slightest degree of impairment face DUI charges, even if their BAC is legal.)
- ARS 28-1382(A)(2).
- ARS 28-1382; Bourne v. McClennen, (Ariz. Ct. App. 2014) 235 Ariz. 423, 333 P.3d 750, 692 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 52; Scheerer v. Munger, (Ariz. Ct. App. 2012) 230 Ariz. 137, 281 P.3d 491, 634 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 50.
- ARS 28-1382, et seq.
- ARS 13-905, et seq.