Is Extreme DUI a Felony in Arizona?
In Arizona, an Extreme DUI is classified as a misdemeanor, not a felony. An Extreme DUI is defined as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or higher within two hours of driving. While not considered a felony, the penalties for an Extreme DUI are significantly more severe than a standard DUI. Consequences may include longer jail time, increased fines, mandatory alcohol education and treatment, community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. Despite its misdemeanor status, the seriousness of an Extreme DUI in Arizona should not be underestimated, as it carries substantial legal and financial repercussions.
Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States. One such law is the classification of “extreme DUI,” which involves a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) significantly higher than the legal limit. If you or a loved one is facing an extreme DUI charge, understanding the legal ramifications is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, Chelle Law, a leading criminal defense law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, clarifies whether extreme DUI is considered a felony and provides essential information on potential penalties and legal defenses.
What Constitutes an Extreme DUI in Arizona?
In Arizona, an extreme DUI is defined as driving with a BAC of 0.15% or higher within two hours of operating a vehicle. This is almost twice the legal limit of 0.08% for drivers 21 years and older. It is important to note that commercial drivers and individuals under the age of 21 have lower legal BAC limits.
Is Extreme DUI a Felony in Arizona?
An extreme DUI is not automatically considered a felony in Arizona. Instead, it is typically charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, certain circumstances can elevate an extreme DUI charge to a felony, known as an “aggravated DUI.” These circumstances include:
- Driving under the influence with a suspended, revoked, or restricted driver’s license.
- Committing a third DUI offense within 84 months (7 years).
- Driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle.
If any of these conditions apply, the extreme DUI charge may be elevated to a Class 4 or Class 6 felony, depending on the specific circumstances. Felony convictions carry more severe penalties than misdemeanors, including longer jail or prison sentences, higher fines, and more long-lasting consequences on your personal and professional life.
Penalties for Extreme DUI in Arizona
As a Class 1 misdemeanor, extreme DUI carries significant penalties in Arizona. These can include:
- A minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail, with the possibility of up to 6 months.
- Fines and fees totaling up to $2,500, plus additional surcharges.
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months or more.
- Alcohol screening, education, and treatment.
- Community service.
- License suspension for 90 days.
For more information on Arizona DUI penalties, visit the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) website.
Legal Defense Options for Extreme DUI Charges
If you are facing an extreme DUI charge, it is essential to seek experienced legal representation. Chelle Law, a top criminal defense law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, can help you navigate the legal system and develop a strong defense strategy. Potential defense options include:
- Challenging the accuracy of the BAC testing equipment or the testing procedure.
- Questioning the legality of the traffic stop or arrest.
- Presenting evidence of a medical condition or other factors that may have affected the BAC results.
Although extreme DUI is not automatically considered a felony in Arizona, it can result in severe penalties and lasting consequences. If you or a loved one is facing an extreme DUI charge, it is crucial to have skilled legal representation to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
Turn to Chelle Law for expert criminal defense representation when dealing with accusations of a crime in Scottsdale.