Not Worth the Risk: Impaired Driving Carries Heavy Penalties in Arizona

Recently, a study published by WalletHub ranked Arizona as the toughest state in the nation when it comes to DUI laws and penalties. As one of the leading preventable causes of injury and death, our legislators take impaired driving very seriously. You probably already know that there are serious consequences following a DUI arrest, but do you really know what the laws are in this state?

If you are arrested for a DUI, officers will ask you to consent to a breath or blood test.  If you do not consent, officers will obtain a search warrant for your blood and your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year.  In addition, your failure to consent may be used against you at trial.

Depending on facts, circumstances, and criminal history, a person committing a misdemeanor DUI can serve up to six months in jail.  The minimum sentence for a misdemeanor DUI is one day in jail and for a person convicted of an Aggravated DUI, they can serve up to 15 years in the Department of Corrections but even if they are placed on probation for a first offense, they must serve four months in the Department of Corrections.

If an impaired driver causes a collision resulting in injuries or death, he or she could face an Aggravated Assault charge with a sentencing range of 5 to 15 years in the Department of Corrections. Manslaughter carries a range of 7 to 21 years.

There are several ways to commit a Misdemeanor DUI.  The first is driving or being in Actual Physical Control (APC) of a motor vehicle and being impaired to the slightest degree.  The second is having an alcohol concentration of a .08 or greater within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control.  The third is having any drug or active metabolite of a drug in your system while driving or being in actual physical control.  The fourth is having an alcohol concentration of .150 or greater in your blood or breath within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control.    


As the public learns about the severity of Arizona’s DUI penalties as well as the damage caused by impaired driving, designating a driver or using a rideshare service are becoming increasingly popular choices.

To help keep Maricopa County residents safe during the holiday season, MCAO is partnering with Uber to offer discounted rides through Dec. 31.

New Uber users can access a $15 credit, good for their first ride, by downloading the Uber app and entering the promo code MCAOHoliday. Existing users can enter to win free rides (two rides up to $50 each way) on New Year’s Eve from Uber by entering the promo code WINUBER. Winners will be notified on December 28, 2016. Please remember that Uber surge charges may apply during peak times.

MCAO’s media partners at iHeartRadio will share this message with their listeners. The “Save Lives, Don’t DUI” campaign is on the airwaves at 99.9 KEZ, Mix 96.9, 104.7 KISS FM, KNIX, KFYI 550, KFYI2 1230 AM, 95.5 The Mountain and FOX Sports 910 AM.

MCAO’s “Save Lives, Don’t DUI” campaign reinforces that good decisions help avoid bad consequences. State-sponsored DUI task forces will be active throughout the valley during the month of December. Avoid the consequences of a DUI citation by planning ahead. Do your part to make this a happy and safe holiday season.