Is DUI a Felony in Arizona?
Is DUI a Felony in Arizona?
In Arizona, a DUI can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the specific circumstances surrounding the offense. Most DUI cases are considered misdemeanors; however, the presence of certain aggravating factors can elevate the charge to a felony. Such factors may include multiple prior DUI convictions, driving on a suspended license, or causing severe injury or fatality. Our detailed guide dives into the nuances of Arizona’s DUI laws, highlighting the distinctions between misdemeanor and felony DUI charges, along with the legal consequences and potential defense strategies for each classification.
Welcome to Chelle Law Firm’s blog! As a leading criminal defense law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, we are dedicated to providing accurate and useful information on a range of legal topics. In this post, we will address the question: Is DUI a felony in Arizona?
Understanding Arizona’s DUI Laws
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Arizona, with strict laws and penalties in place to deter and punish intoxicated driving. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381, a person can be charged with DUI if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, and their ability to drive is impaired, or if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
DUI: Misdemeanor or Felony?
In Arizona, a DUI charge can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense. Here are some general guidelines:
- First-time and Second-time DUI: A first-time DUI with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.149% is typically charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Similarly, a second DUI within 7 years of the first conviction is also generally considered a misdemeanor, albeit with increased penalties.
- Extreme and Super Extreme DUI: If your BAC is 0.15% or higher, you may be charged with an “Extreme DUI” (BAC between 0.15% and 0.199%) or a “Super Extreme DUI” (BAC of 0.20% or higher). These offenses are still misdemeanors, but they carry significantly harsher penalties than a standard DUI.
- Aggravated DUI: Under certain circumstances, a DUI can be elevated to a felony, known as an “Aggravated DUI.” According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1383, a DUI may be considered a felony if:
- You are charged with your third DUI within 7 years;
- You commit a DUI while driving on a suspended, revoked, or restricted license;
- You commit a DUI with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle;
- You commit a DUI while required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
An Aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony in Arizona and carries severe penalties, including mandatory prison time, significant fines, and long-term driver’s license revocation.
How Chelle Law Firm Can Help
If you are facing DUI charges in Arizona, it is critical to have skilled legal representation to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of the legal process. Chelle Law’s commitment to providing exceptional criminal defense representation is unparalleled in Scottsdale.
We will work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome in your case, whether that involves negotiating a favorable plea agreement, seeking a dismissal or reduction of charges, or fighting for your rights at trial.