How To Drink Without Getting A DUI In Phoenix Arizona?

by Aaron M. Black • August 14, 2023

Drink and Car KeysThe answer to this question is based on biology and chemistry, and it is possible to have a drink after work and then drive home without breaking Arizona’s DUI laws. But how much is too much varies from person to person, while the DUI law is static and unforgiving.

The amount of alcohol consumed affects individuals differently depending upon gender, body weight, age, an individual’s metabolism rate for absorbing and eliminating alcohol, tolerance for alcohol that experienced drinkers develop over the years, and the potency of the beverage consumed.

Generally, alcohol stays in a person’s system for approximately 10-20 hours, but you won't be guilty of a DUI if you drive on Phoenix streets for that whole time.

The best way to avoid a DUI is to never drive after having any amount of alcohol!

Do NOT drink and drive.


The alcohol levels consumed

"Drunk Gauge"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, and 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 0.72. A 140-pound person in comparison will reach a BAC of 0.069, just under the legal limit, after only three drinks.

However, Arizona with some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation and has a zero-tolerance policy, so authorities can make an arrest at just 0.05 BAC under Arizona Revised Statute §28-1381(A)(1).

Also, drivers who have been drinking and know they are impaired sometimes park off the road or park somewhere to sleep. But that person can still be arrested for a DUI under Arizona’s Actual Physical Control law, if the ignition key is readily accessible, such as in the ignition or a person’s pocket or purse.

The path to impairment

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that having a BAC of 0.02 causes a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time; 0.05 BAC causes reduced coordination which makes steering difficult and slows the response to an emergency; 0.08 BAC impacts concentration, causes short term memory loss and impairs perception; and 0.10 BAC reduces the ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately.

The brain and stages of intoxication

Northwestern Medicine states that impairment by alcohol restricts the brain’s communication pathways that process information.

(1) At a BAC level, the first stage of intoxication is from 0.01 to 0.05 when reaction time and judgment can be slightly altered after only one drink, depending upon the individual.

(2) Next the brain releases more dopamine and euphoria sets in as the BAC rises to between 0.03 and 0.12. The individual feels relaxed and confident, but reasoning and memory can be impaired slightly.

 (3) Excitement begins with a BAC between 0.09 and 0.25. At this level, blurred vision, slurred speech, hearing impairment, loss of motor skills, slowed reaction time, mood swings occur, and judgment is affected.

 (4) Intoxication beyond those levels results in confusion, stupor, and coma, and at 0.45 BAC, alcohol poisoning occurs, resulting in death.

Misdemeanor DUI punishments

Most DUI charges are misdemeanors covering the BAC level range. A first-time class 1 misdemeanor DUI conviction requires spending time in county jail up to a maximum of six months and a minimum of 10 days. However, the time in custody can be as short as one day, with the other nine days suspended.

Businessman in Jail

The license to drive is suspended for 30 days, followed by a restricted license for traveling to work or school for 60 days, before the license can be reinstated at the defendant’s expense.

Fines total $1,250, and the court orders installing an interlocking ignition device at your own expense to prevent driving if you’ve had anything to drink. The court also will order you to complete an alcohol screening, education, and treatment program at your expense. Serving time in service to the community may also be part of the punishment.

Defenses for DUI charges

A DUI arrest does not necessarily mean a conviction is in your future. The prosecution under AZ law has the burden of proving its DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor will lay out its evidence for the jury and its arguments.

The defense will conduct its own investigation of the state’s evidence, the police procedures the state used to establish reasonable doubt, and establishing mitigating factors or evidence favorable to the defendant that investigators overlooked.

In some DUI cases, it may be possible to enter into a plea agreement for a lesser charge in return for a guilty or no contest plea.

These are common DUI defenses:
  • The arresting officer did not have the necessary probable cause or reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop;
  • The officer did not properly administer a portion of the field sobriety test or failed to consider the detainee’s physical history, preventing the proper execution of the officer’s instructions;
  • The officer did not recite the Miranda Rights to remain silent or to have an attorney present at the interrogation;
  • The breathalyzer test result was flawed because the machine was not properly calibrated and produced an incorrect result;
  • If blood was drawn, the sample was tainted because of improper storage or human error.

Aaron M. Black Law DUI defense

A DUI charge requires an aggressive DUI defense attorney to challenge the state’s evidence and protect your Constitutional rights. Should you or someone you care for be charged or are under investigation for a DUI, it is crucial that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney, such as myself with two decades of DUI defense experience to defend you at the earliest possible time.

I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, so I work hard to ensure they have the best defense possible. My goal is always to get the charge dismissed. If the state has a strong case, I will negotiate a plea agreement for a lesser charge, such as reckless driving with the defendant's permission.

Aaron M. Black Law, a Phoenix DUI Lawyer, provides personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your DUI case, and I will answer all your questions so that you will move forward with my support and empathy during this difficult time.

Begin your DUI defense now 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 DUI cases in courts throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County 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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