Excessive Drinking Under Arizona’s DUI Law

by Aaron M. Black • February 23, 2024

Excessive drinking and driving is a recipe for personal disaster as Arizona DUI law prosecutes extreme and super extreme levels of intoxication as felonies. The extreme DUI level begins with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 percent and super extreme starts at 0.20. Both offenses cause havoc on the brain and body. Punishment for being convicted of extreme or super extreme DUIs are significant, particularly for repeat offenders.

Excessive Drinking Impairs Vision
Physical impacts of severe intoxication

A BAC of 0.15 results in a significant loss of motor control  with the following symptoms…
  • Poor or no balance leading to falls
  • Severe loss of attention and slowed reaction times
  • Inability to process sounds and blurred vision
  • Nausea or vomiting

A BAC of 0.20 produces…
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Hearing impairment
  • Reduced motor skills
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired judgment

A BAC of 0.20 also reduces the pain sensation so the person can be hurt and not notice. In addition, nausea, vomiting and gag reflex impairment can cause choking or vomiting.

Alcohol Impaired Motorcyclist

The amount of alcohol consumed

A standard alcoholic beverage is 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits such as vodka and whiskey, a 12-ounce beer, eight ounces of malt liquor, or a five-ounce glass of wine. A person weighing 160 pounds will test slightly under Arizona’s DUI entry level of 0.08 BAC after four drinks with a BAC of .072. A 140-pound person, in comparison, will reach a BAC of 0.069, just under the legal limit, after only three drinks.

A 160-pound person will reach a BAC of 0.15 after five drinks and reaches 0.20 BAC after seven drinks, according to healthline.

How we metabolize alcohol

Excessive Drinking Can Lead To DUI Arrest - Beer Bottles & HandcuffsOur bodies metabolize alcohol at different speeds, and this depends on the individual. According to healthline, a shot of liquor takes one hour to metabolize, a pint of beer takes two hours, and a large glass of wine metabolizes in three hours.

A 12-ounce beer has the same amount of alcohol as a five-ounce glass of wine or a shot of distilled spirits such as bourbon or gin.

Drinking one alcoholic beverage after another does not give the liver the necessary time to process alcohol, so the drinker experiences longer-lasting effects. Generally, it takes the liver an hour to process one ounce of liquor.

Punishments for super extreme DUI in AZ

A first Super Extreme DUI offense demands:

  • A term in county jail for 45 consecutive days
  • 90 days license suspension with no driving for 30 of those days
  • Ignition interlock device for 18 months after license reinstatement
  • Possible vehicle impoundment
  • Fines and other costs exceeding $3,200
  • Probation for as long as five years
  • Possible community service

A second Super Extreme DUI offense within 84 months (7 years) of the first requires:

  • Six months in county jail
  • License revocation for one year without a temporary license provision
  • Ignition interlock for two years following license reinstatement
  • Possible vehicle impoundment
  • An array of fines totaling more than $4,600
  • Up to five years of probation
  • At least 30 hours of community service

Extreme and super extreme DUI defenses

To avoid Arizona’s harsh punishments, an effective DUI defense is necessary.

Basic DUI defenses are:

  • The arresting traffic officer did not have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop, such as an expired registration or an illegal turn.
  • The officer did not have the necessary reasonable suspicion that the driver had committed, was committing, or was intending to commit a crime, and based on the officer’s “belief and experience.”
  • The field sobriety test, including walking a straight line and other such tests, were administered incorrectly by the traffic officer.
  • The breathalyzer device to judge the amount of alcohol consumed gave a faulty reading because the device’s calibration was inaccurate or the officer administering the test did something wrong in administering the test.
  • A valid search warrant to take a blood sample did not happen.
  • The blood sample was not stored correctly, or it was in some way contaminated.
  • The level of intoxication increased after the traffic stop because of the body’s alcohol absorption rate and individual metabolism variables.

Field Sobriety Test Being Performed

Every DUI case has its own circumstances, so other defenses unique to your case might be possible.

Unusual BAC defenses are:

  • A recent bridge or a crown can allow alcohol to collect in the mouth, causing havoc with the breathalyzer, and the results of the test will not be accurate.
  • A person who has acid reflux disease can fool the breathalyzer into giving a false positive test result.

Aaron M. Black Law for excessive drinking defense

Should you or someone you care about be charged or are under investigation for an extreme or super extreme DUI offense, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced and aggressive DUI defense attorney such as myself.

In my decades-long career as a DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble for making an error in judgment. That is why I work diligently to ensure they have the best defense possible.

In my investigation, I will scrutinize the state’s evidence and the personnel records of the investigators involved, looking for inconsistencies and errors. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to the defense.

At Aaron M. Black Law, you will receive personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me, never an assistant, at every step of your case while providing support and encouragement. That’s our DUI Concierge approach to your legal challenges.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court or at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend all levels of DUI charges throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
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