Does a DUI Mean Jail Time in Phoenix, Arizona?

by Aaron Black • June 04, 2020
A DUI and Jail timeProspective DUI clients ask me if jail is in their future. That’s a complex question with different answers depending upon four factors and on Arizona’s intricate sentencing guidelines. 
  • First, you have to be convicted, and it’s always my goal to win a dismissal of the charges with an aggressive defense or at least reducing the charge to a less serious offense.
  • Second, Arizona has various levels of seriousness depending upon the blood-alcohol content (BAC).
  • Third, prior DUI convictions increase the seriousness of the new charge.
  • Fourth, is there an aggravated factor related to the DUI

First-Time Baseline DUI

A first time DUI at the baseline BAC level of 0.08 percent or slightly more, although I’ve defended people charged even though their BAC didn’t reach that baseline. Arizona is a zero-tolerance state so any level of impairment is unlawful.

Defendants in this misdemeanor situation face a range of at least one day and up to six months in jail. The minimum is 10 days in jail but nine of those days may be suspended if you successfully complete drug/alcohol education classes at your own expense. You may be eligible for home detention with continuous alcohol monitoring after one day in jail, if the sentence is longer than a single day.

A second base DUI conviction within seven years of the first DUI conviction date has a range of six days to six months in jail. The minimum sentence is 90 jail days, although 60 of those days may be suspended if you’ve successfully finished alcohol and drug education classes. Failing to complete the classes means serving the formerly suspended 60 days behind bars.

First-Time Extreme DUI

A first-time extreme DUI is charged if your BAC is 0.15 percent but less than 0.20.

The range of incarceration in county jail is from two days to six months. The minimum sentence is 30 days in jail but 21 of those days may be suspended if an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in your vehicle for 12 months.

You may be eligible for a work furlough or release after serving 48 hours in jail. After serving 20 percent of your initial jail term you may be eligible for home detention which includes continuous alcohol monitoring,

Second Extreme DUI

If you’re convicted of this offense the range of incarceration is 24 days to six months.

The minimum sentence is 120 days but after 48 hours you may be eligible for a work furlough or release, which may be unlikely, after serving 48 hours. But after work or school, you have to return to jail.

First-Time Super Extreme DUI

Super extreme begins at 0.20 percent BAC. Sentencing ranges from three days to six months in jail with the minimum sentence of 45 days in jail. Of those, 31 days may be suspended if an IID is ordered by the judge for a year.

Work furlough or release becomes eligible after serving 48 hours in jail. Home detention becomes an option after serving 20 percent of the initial term of incarceration with continuous alcohol monitoring.

Second Super Extreme DUI

Any BAC level above 0.20 percent falls into this category.

The range of punishment is 36 days to six months in jail. The minimum jail time is 180 days and at least 90 of those days must be served without interruption.

Work furlough or work release becomes an option after 48 hours in jail and after 20 percent of the sentence has been served, but continuous alcohol monitoring is required.

Aggravated DUI Circumstances

Certain situations that place yourself or others in danger of harm or causing death will add jail time to your sentence and raise the DUI charge to a felony because of an aggravating factor.

An offender who has a prior felony conviction, or two or more convictions, receives a longer prison term than a first felony defendant would.

Kid in Car Aggravated Factor

If you’re caught driving impaired with a child younger than 15 in the vehicle, the incarceration range is one day in jail and up to 10 years of supervised probation.

The minimum sentence is 10 days in jail, although nine of those days may be suspended pending successful completion of alcohol education classes.

Those who have a previous conviction for any type of crime will spend 1.75 years or 1.8 years, depending on if the other offense is allegeable or ineligible.

People who have two or more prior convictions face a range from 2.25 years and up to 5.75 years.

Impacts of a Felony Conviction

A felony conviction can severely impact your life and livelihood long after your sentence is completed. In addition to incarceration, Arizona allows fines and surcharges totaling into four digits.

Beyond the financial impact, convicted felons will lose their constitutional right to own or possess a firearm and the right to vote in elections. A landlord may refuse to rent you a place to live. Those who have professional licenses face suspension or revocation, which can end your chosen career.

Common DUI Defenses

  • The authorities may have abused your constitution rights to remain silent or have an attorney present during interrogation
  • The Police violated your Miranda rights at the time of the arrest
  • There wasn’t probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop you
  • The Police detected your level of impairment using a faulty device
Depending on the circumstances of your case, other defenses may be possible, too.

Free, Confidential Legal Consultation

If you or a family member has been charged with a DUI, with or without an aggravating factor, it’s important that you learn where you stand.

The Law Office of Aaron Black offers a free, confidential, legal consultation.

Contact Phoenix, AZ DUI Defense Attorney, or call (480) 729-1683. The consultation can be by phone and I can also meet with you on FaceTime. Also, I can review any related documents by email or text.

I defend DUI and other criminal cases in Arizona’s justice, municipal, state, and federal courts.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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