To your surprise, you may get arrested in Arizona with a BAC below the legal limit. Arizona’s legal limit for getting a DUI conviction is 0.08 percent. The state, however, is recognized as a place that has a zero tolerance policy. Does this mean you could get arrested even if your blood alcohol concentration falls below the legal limit? Let’s take a look at the regulatory specifics.
Arizona Laws and BAC under the Legal Limit
In Arizona, having BAC above zero percent and below 0.08 percent will classify you as impaired to the slightest degree. A person who is impaired to the slightest degree could still face the legal consequences of driving under the influence.
DUI Impaired to the Slightest Degree
The specifics of being impaired to the slightest degree are described in Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381. Whenever a driver is impaired and operating a vehicle, they will face the legal consequences. A person will be considered impaired to the slightest degree whenever:
• They’re in actual physical control of the vehicle
• They are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both
• They have a BAC in the range of up to 0.08 percent
A person who meets these criteria will face a conviction and the respective sanctions. In Arizona, a BAC that falls under the legal limit will result in Class 1 misdemeanor charges. The penalties are the same as those for people who commit a DUI for the first time. The driver will face license suspension, eventual jail time, court-ordered counselling and educational classes, as well as the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
What Does This Mean for Arizona Drivers?
A law is a law and if you break it, you will face the consequences. Many think that having a beer and driving is fine but in Arizona, such a decision could eventually get you in trouble.
Keep in mind that police officers use specific policies when they pull drivers over. The BAC reading is not the only factor that will be examined to determine whether a driver is impaired.
An arrest is going to be influenced by the behavior of the driver before and during the stop. Some signs of impairment that law enforcement professionals will be looking for include the following:
• Swerving from lane to lane
• Speed limit violations
• The smell of alcohol in the vehicle
• Problems with interaction, for example – slurred speech
• A difficulty producing the documents that the police officer asked for
• Issues observed during the performance of a field sobriety test
• Overall inadequate behavior
If these are present, a law enforcement professional can conclude that the driver is impaired and thus, dangerous on the road. It’s true that different people will be affected by alcohol in specific ways. Thus, impaired to the slightest degree could occasionally be quite dangerous. Age, gender, weight and health condition are just some of the factors that will determine just how impaired a person is going to be after the consumption of alcohol.
People who are charged with being impaired to the slightest degree could see several outcomes from the legal proceedings.
The first option is the prosecutor dismissing the case without any further action being required on behalf of the defendant or their legal representative. Such a turn of event, however, isn’t likely. Arizona law enforcement professionals are very strict in the enforcement of DUI regulations and most drivers will have to face the consequences of their actions.
In this instance, the prosecutor will be tasked with proving impairment. Field sobriety testing and the report created by the police officer will play a key role. Luckily, an experienced DUI attorney in Arizona can challenge this information in a number of ways. This is why you should get in touch with your lawyer as soon as possible, even if you think that a BAC under the legal threshold isn’t that serious.