DUI and Jail Time in Arizona

dui and jail timeClients facing DUI charges often ask if a conviction automatically means time in jail. The answer is complicated because Arizona DUI law outlines a variety of levels of severity for DUI offenses depending on the circumstances. You’ll also find that the penalties are more strict if you’ve already had other DUI convictions.

Arizona is a no-tolerance state for DUIs, which means it penalizes those who break the law to the full extent of the law. However, an update to the Arizona law in 2012 softened the DUI penalties a little bit so that it is possible to avoid jail time when convicted of a DUI.

Arizona DUI jail time

The law states that even when it is your first offense, you must spend a day in jail. However, that does not necessarily mean you spend a full 24 hours in a cell. Instead, it can be any amount of time.

Once you have a DUI on your record though, the law outlines a 30-day jail time. After you spend two days in jail, you could be eligible for house arrest to serve the remainder of your sentence. If your DUI is considered extreme, the sentencing includes 120 days in jail and you can’t qualify for home detention until you’ve spent 24 days in prison.

For the most extreme DUI offenses committed by past offenders, you could face 180-days in jail with eligibility for house arrest starting after you serve 45 days in jail.

Click here for an article by AZ Central on Arizona DUI laws.

How is jail time calculated?

The severity of your DUI charge dictates how much time you’ll spend in jail. Factors that can contribute to the severity of your Arizona DUI include:

  • Your blood alcohol level reading and how far above the legal limit it was
  • Whether a child under the age of 15 was in the car with you
  • Causing a collision with other motorists
  • If you caused a collision, if there were injuries or property damage
  • The driver’s DUI history

Arizona works hard to rehabilitate DUI offenders using classes and other penalties. So when drivers become repeat offenders for DUIs, the state doesn’t appreciate that.

You can be charged with an aggravated DUI if you’ve received two DUI convictions within a seven-year period. And once you’re convicted of a third DUI, you can be charged with a felony, which can make life more difficult as felonies show up on background checks for housing, employment and schooling.

Other consequences of an Arizona DUI conviction

Jail time is not the only thing you need to be worried about when facing an Arizona DUI charge. In addition to jail time, the judge can mandate that you attend drug and alcohol education classes, fulfill community service hours, pay fines and fees, and place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

You could also lose your driver’s license, which can make it very hard to fulfill your daily needs. The effects of a DUI conviction are far-reaching, which means you should do everything in your power to avoid an Arizona DUI conviction.

Avoiding jail time and an Arizona DUI conviction

When an officer pulls you over, that’s when your Arizona DUI trial truly begins. What you say and do during this traffic stop can have a serious bearing on your chances of avoiding conviction. Avoid answering incriminating questions, such as “have you been drinking” and “how much have you had to drink.”

Invoke your right to remain silent and request that your attorney be present for all questioning. Hiring an Arizona DUI attorney is the key to ensuring your future is free from carrying a criminal record for a DUI. Protect your ability to earn and hold down a job by hiring only the best attorney who can build your case and negotiate with the prosecution, when necessary.

Find out about the important court decision on involuntary DUI by consent.