Jail Time for DUI in Arizona After a Conviction

by Aaron M. Black • May 11, 2023

This is the fifth of a six-part series explaining a DUI case from the arrest to beginning a new life

Mandatory Jail Time

If you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, you will serve jail time. Arizona DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Depending on your DUI charge, based in part on your blood alcohol concentration, will determine whether it's an extreme DUI, super extreme DUI, or aggravated DUI, first-time offense, second or your third offense DUI violation, and if DUI crashes were involved, DUI penalties will dictate if your sentence is a misdemeanor or felony.

Jail Time for DUI in Arizona After a Conviction

The sentence for misdemeanor and felony DUI convictions determines which penal system the offender will be assigned for serving the sentence. You will receive more, or less of your mandatory jail sentence based on this as well.

In addition to your minimum jail sentence, you will...
  • Have a driver’s license suspension
  • A certified ignition interlock device is mandatory on any vehicles you own
  • Possibly being doing community service after your release
  • Pay at least a minimum fine
  • May be required to go through alcohol screening, education, and a court-ordered alcohol treatment program
Drunk driving is a driving violation police officers target as it often leads to fatal crashes.

Commercial vehicle drivers with a CDL (Commercial Driver License) should be especially careful of driving under the influence/alcohol-impaired driving, as the legal limit for your BAC test (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is reduced to .04%.

Commercial Drivers Licenses Mean 1/2 The Blood Alcohol Limit

County Jail

Those who are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI will serve their sentence in the county jail, which only takes inmates for up to one year. That is the longest county jail sentence under Arizona’s laws.

The level of custody or security is based on the inmate’s classification, sentence, and criminal history. It is possible that a first-time DUI offender can be released to go to their jobs and return at the end of the shift. This is the work-release program.

Women prisoners are confined in the Estrella Jail in Phoenix, which has a capacity of 1,500 for up to two years.

Home Detention

Home detention may be possible in some misdemeanor cases, but several restrictions comprise its rules.
A judge must decide if a convicted DUI defendant should be allowed to serve the sentence at home. If granted, the offender must adhere to a number of established rules, and the judge can order additional restrictions. In addition, the offender must serve the first 20% of the incarceration in jail and then can be released on home detention.

Ankle Monitor For Home Detention After DUI Conviction

The common rules are paying all expenses associated with home detention, including an ankle bracelet and sensor for monitoring movements within the home. The sentence must be served inside the home with exceptions for going to work, testing, community restitution, and other actions required by the court.

Consuming alcohol or using illicit drugs is forbidden. Weekly consumption testing is required, and tests showing the offender's location are conducted three times daily at random times.

An analog telephone line or mobile phone is used for daily any-time check-in calls to enforce geographic and curfew rules is required.
The court also may impose a home “sobrietor” device for random alcohol breath testing to prove you are not under the influence of alcohol. Voice verification and proximity sensors ensure that it is you who are performing the random tests.

Associating with people who are detrimental to your completing home detention is forbidden, and enrollment in and successful completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program is required.

The judge must consider who is not eligible. Offenders who are a risk to themselves or others and those who have a record of violent behavior are not eligible.

It is best that the defense attorney request the court to order home detention in misdemeanor cases.

Arizona’s Prison Incarceration

Those convicted of a felony DUI will be assigned to a state prison. The closest to Greater Phoenix is in Florence. Women DUI felons are confined at the Arizona State Prison Complex Perryville in Goodyear.

Living in prison is loud, uncomfortable, and consecutive days are rigid, with wake-up calls, roll call, lines for meals, bed checks, and lines for everything. To survive, it is best to not say or do anything that would agitate another prisoner, not join a prison gang, and serve your sentence one day at a time.

Medical care in Arizona prisons is not up to civilian standards. So much so that a U.S. District Court judge ordered prison officials to provide adequate mental and medical care. One reason is that there are not enough healthcare employees for the 25,000 people behind bars in Arizona.

In 2020, Arizona passed a bill that provided non-violent state prisoners time off of their sentences by working in prison, taking classes in drug and alcohol treatment, and taking self-improvement courses. For example, a DUI prisoner can earn 1.5 days of credit for every six days the prisoner is enrolled in a self-improvement course. In this situation, the nonviolent prisoner would have a suspended sentence, only serving 65 percent of the sentence. However, this does not apply to Aggravated DUI convictions where a person serves a term of 4-12 months of prison as a term of probation.

People living within Arizona’s Department of Corrections have rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, with the exception of certain civil rights lost because of the felony conviction.
Contact with family and the outside world is important for rehabilitating criminal DUI offenders. To learn how family, relatives, and friends can visit their loved one in the Arizona Department of Corrections visit this Website: Home | Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry. It lists a number of conditions, including a dress code for visitors that is enforced.

Inmates participating in the prison’s Earned Incentive Program (EIP) may receive packages from relatives and friends containing necessities. The prison system has many restrictions on what can be sent to inmates. Inmates can receive personal letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and drawings. They cannot receive cash, razors, weapons, cigarettes, perfumed letters, hardcover books, drugs, or adult content photos.

To ensure packages do not contain items that are not allowed, the prison system uses an approved vendor, Securepak, for sending packages to inmates. It usually takes ten days to be delivered, but it could take up to 21 days.

If the packaging restrictions are violated, the prisoner will not be able to receive mail from the offending mailer.

Under the “Prisons & Visitation” tab, select “Application to Visit an Inmate/Phone Application.” Follow the instructions on the page to apply for visitation online or through the mail.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

If you want to pursue home detention, it is best to have legal representation for petitioning the court before the sentence pronouncement.

It is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney, such as myself, at the earliest possible time. In my long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, which is why I ensure they have the best defense possible. Having your DUI charge dismissed, reduced through plea bargaining or reducing the severity of penalties is always my goal.

Aaron M. Black Law provides personalized legal services. You will always talk directly to me at every stage of your DUI case.

Begin your quest for home detention 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. You may also use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

PreviousThe DUI Arrest -  How to choose a DUI attorney  - DUI Arraignment - Arizona DUI Sentencing and Judicial Discretion in DUI Cases 
Next, part six: Rebuilding Your Life


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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