Driving under the influence comes with grave consequences, particularly in Arizona. And while the penalties for your first conviction are serious, the state takes an especially hard line on repeat offenses, such as third offense DUI/DWI. A third offense misdemeanor DUI conviction is one that is typically charged as a first offense felony, or aggravated DUI, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1383(L). That felony conviction can result in a term of four months in prison.
Watch David Cantor explain the costs and penalties for a 3rd offense DUI/DWI in Arizona:
Judges do not always charge third offense DUI drivers with felonies, though. A city court may instead charge the driver with a third time DUI, as that is less of an administrative burden (felony charges must be processed via the office of the Maricopa County Attorney). Typically, this path is chosen by the prosecutor where one of your prior DUI convictions appears to have a proof issue. A common reason for filing misdemeanor charges rather than felony charges is that one of your prior convictions is from outside of Arizona, so the city court may be unable to secure the proper paperwork regarding that conviction.
Out-of-state prior DUI convictions are not the only proof problems that result in misdemeanor charges. For example, if the judge presiding over a previous DUI conviction of yours declined to issue a proper guilty plea proceeding advisement or the prior DUI file lacks a signed attorney waiver, these proof problems may cause a city prosecutor to hesitate to impose felony charges. These proof problems would require flying in a witness at the expense of the city simply to testify as to the legitimacy of your prior convictions, and most prosecuting agency’s decide that the inconvenience outweighs the benefits in those cases.
But the lack of felony charges does not make a third offense DUI charge a simple or painless affair. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1381, a conviction on this charge carries with it a six-month jail sentence, which will cost $14,500. Although you will be allowed to work during this time, such a conviction may jeopardize your job or your accreditation. A third DUI conviction will also result in a $3,500 fine, and Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1383(A)(4) requires the installation of an ignition interlock device, which measures your blood alcohol levels as you start your car and periodically during your drive. The Ignition Interlock device costs $1,200, a fee that is dwarfed by the increased insurance costs imposed following the mandatory license revocation period of at least one year imposed by Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1385.
Returning to driving is expensive because you will have increased insurance premium costs of about $3,000 per year over a three-year period ($9,000) and a $500 a year SR-22 policy for 3 years ($1,500).
All in all, a third offense misdemeanor DUI costs about $29,700. To briefly review, the penalties for this conviction are:
- $3,500 in fines
- Six-month jail sentence at a cost of $14,500
- $10,500 in insurance premiums and fees
- $1,200 for ignition interlock device
If you or a loved one has been charged for a third DUI/DWI offense within the previous seven-year period, our experienced team of DUI attorneys can help you work toward a manageable solution. Thanks to our courtroom experience, we have the knowledge and resources to defend you against your DUI charges and secure a livable outcome. To see our past successes, visit the victories section of our website. Call our office anytime at (602) 737-2812 or email us to set up a free case evaluation.