The State of Arizona has some of the stiffest laws in the nation related to drinking and driving (ARS §28-1381). An arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can mean time in custody, steep fines and additional expenses. A first offense misdemeanor DUI/DWI must meet several qualifications in order for the prosecutors to charge you or a loved one. First, the county attorney will look at a person’s blood-alcohol level as determine by a breathalyzer test or blood sample. The subject’s BAC level must register between .08 and .149 percent. In addition, this must be the person’s first conviction or their first conviction within the past seven years. This means that even if you have prior DUI offenses, they will not count against you if they are more than seven years old.
In this short video David Cantor explains what happens with a First Offense DUI/DWI in Arizona:
Penalties for First Misdemeanor DUI in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381 addresses drunk driving and includes definitions, court procedures, maximum allowable blood-alcohol-content levels and fines and other consequences. According to state law, a first offense DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by at least 10 days in jail. However, if you attend an alcohol screening and complete the subsequent classes as directed, the courts might only require you to serve 24 hours in custody.
A first offense misdemeanor DUI conviction is expensive and will hurt a person financially. The courts assess a number of stiff penalties, and related charges are also costly. The offender will be ordered to pay a fine, surcharges and assessment fees that can total about $1,500. They will be charged $130 for a day in jail. The alcohol screening fee is $50, and the alcohol-treatment classes can cost about $585. The courts might also order you to install an ignition-interlock device on your vehicle that monitors your blood-alcohol-content level and prevents you from starting the vehicle if it registers above a certain amount. The cost of the IID is $1,200 for a year, but sometimes the courts require that offenders keep it on the vehicle for longer periods of time.
In addition, if you plan to keep on driving after a first offense DUI, you will need to pay for car insurance, which will cost $9,000 more over 3 years with increased insurance premiums. Finally, the insurance company will require that you obtain a policy waiver called SR-22, for three years to the tune of $500 per year ($1,500). The total expenses for the fines and related charges if you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI can easily run more than $14,000.
Here’s a list of the financial impact of a conviction for a 1st Offense Misdemeanor DUI in Arizona:
- A base fine, surcharges and assessments totaling: $1,537
- Jail Cost for one day: $130
- Alcohol Screening: $50
- 16 – 36 Alcohol Classes: $135 – $585 total
- One Year Ignition Interlock Device: $1,000 – $1,200
- SR-22 Car Insurance Policy: $500 per year for 3 years = $1,500
- Car Insurance Rate Increases: $3,000 per year for 3 years = $9,000
Grand Total: $14,002 (with car insurance) or $3,502 (without a car or car insurance)
However, you can hire a lawyer with a track record of effectively defending DUI clients for far less than it would cost you to pay all of the fines and related costs. If you or a loved one faces first time DUI charges, contact the office of David M. Cantor today to schedule a free, initial appointment. Our office is available 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808 or via our secure email form. Our office is located in downtown Phoenix but we handle cases all over the metro area (Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale) and across the State of Arizona.