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Felony Aggravated DUI in Arizona

Arizona Felony DUI (Aggravated DUI)

An aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony charge in Arizona that carries incredibly harsh penalties. If convicted, drivers face a mandatory minimum prison sentence, even if it is a motorist's first aggravated DUI. There are certain factors that can be discovered by a police officer upon arrest that may elevate a typical DUI charge to an aggravated DUI. This is why it's important to hire an experienced legal professional who is well-versed in Arizona DUI law to help identify the mitigating factors in a case in an effort to reduce or potentially dismiss a case.

Arizona DUI Law

Arizona has drunken and “drugged” driving laws that are consistent with the rest of the country. Most people are familiar with the state's legal limits pertaining to alcohol consumption. If a police officer finds that a driver has a blood alcohol content level that exceeds the following legal limits through the use of a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, he or she will be charged with a standard DUI:

  • Any person who is 21 or older - 0.08% or higher
  • A commercial driver operating a commercial vehicle - 0.04%
  • Any person under the age of 21 - any alcohol detected in his or her system is punishable

A DUI may also be acquired if a person is found to have been driving under the influence of drugs. Therefore, if through the use of an authorized chemical test, a police officer finds that prescription medications, marijuana, or any illegal substances have impaired a driver to the point that he or she isn't able to safely operate a vehicle, a DUI charge may be issued.

Arizona's Aggravating Factors

The distinction between a standard DUI and an aggravated DUI is essentially determined by aggravating factors, or triggers, that are present during the time of an arrest. These factors are assessed by local law enforcement, and make all the difference in a decision to elevate a typical DUI to an aggravated DUI - a charge with extremely harsh penalties in the state of Arizona.

If an arresting police officer finds that any of the following aggravating factors are present at the time a driver is being apprehended, he or she may be charged with an aggravated DUI:

DUI arrest while a driver's license has been suspended, restricted or revoked

There are several reasons for the Arizona Department of Transportation to issue a license suspension, restriction or revocation to drivers. Although most may assume that committing relatively serious auto-related crimes may lead to these repercussions, that simply isn't the case. A driver's license can easily be suspended by failing to appear in court or forgetting to pay a fine. When a driver is found to have a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit and their license has been compromised, they will most likely be charged with an aggravated DUI.

A couple other reasons for having a license suspended, restricted or revoked are instances of aggressive driving, violating insurance laws, or being medically unable to drive.

DUI arrest while a driver's vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device

Under current Arizona law, ignition interlock devices are required in the event that a driver is convicted of a DUI. An ignition interlock device is installed into said driver's vehicle and it requires them to blow into a mouthpiece, assessing the amount of alcohol in his or her system. If the device detects a person's blood alcohol content level is over its pre-programmed level, it will lock the vehicle's ignition, temporarily preventing a driver from driving their vehicle. This is imposed on whether or not a person's DUI involved alcohol. Being pulled over and arrested while this mechanism is equipped in a vehicle will likely lead to an aggravated DUI.

Two prior DUI convictions within seven years of a recent DUI arrest

Let's say a motorist by the name of Dan acquired his first DUI conviction four years ago, and two years later he obtained another one. A week ago he, unfortunately, experienced another run-in with law enforcement, which led to another DUI arrest. Overall, Dan has experienced three DUIs within the span of seven years, which would automatically elevate a charge from a traditional DUI to an aggravated DUI.

DUI arrest while a child under the age of 15 is in a motor vehicle

A DUI arrest with a child in a vehicle is also an aggravating factor that will easily turn a misdemeanor charge into an aggravated DUI. When a driver is found to have consumed drugs or been drinking while driving with a child in a car, he or she will most likely be immediately apprehended on the scene. The motor vehicle driven at the time of the arrest will be impounded and a family member or an employee of the Child Protective Services will be notified to pick up the child and take him to a safe place.

Aggravated DUI Penalties

First Aggravated DUI Offense

  • Four months spent in prison
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of three years
  • Supervised probation
  • Alcohol screenings and substance abuse classes

Second Aggravated DUI Offense

  • Two to seven years spent in prison
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of three years
  • Supervised probation
  • Alcohol screenings and substance abuse classes

Third & Subsequent Aggravated DUI Offenses

  • Six to 15 years spent in prison
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of three years
  • Supervised probation
  • Alcohol screenings and substance abuse classes

Aggravated DUI With a Child in a Vehicle

  • Up to 2 years in prison
  • Probation

It's important to note that the nature of a DUI case may cause penalties to differ from the general repercussions listed above.

Experienced Arizona DUI Defense Attorneys

Although some DUI cases may be able to be handled without the assistance of an attorney, it's important that legal representation is acquired when you are charged with a DUI with aggravating factors. If you are facing these charges there much more at stake, and most times you are presumed guilty before a trial even commences. You shouldn't have to go through this process alone. Contact the attorneys at the law offices of Shawn B. Hamp for a consultation.

Contact Us Today

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you may be feeling frightened, anxious, and uncertain of what your future holds. The competent and experienced attorneys at the Hamp Law Offices can help you during this difficult time. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients and providing excellent legal representation to those who have been accused of a crime. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.