Phoenix, AZ Repeat DUI Offenders Face Severe Consequences

by Aaron Black • December 05, 2019

Drinking and DrivingRepetition is a good thing in building muscles but repeatedly drinking and driving is more than reckless. Repeat DUI offenders in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding communities are a significant issue for public safety and Arizona’s law enforcement agencies and courts eagerly apply the force of the law.

Arizona’s strict no-tolerance policy allows arrest and conviction for being “slightly impaired” even if the level of alcohol in the blood is less than the state’s 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) baseline. The issue becomes even more serious when BAC levels reach into the extreme, 0.15 percent and super extreme beginning at 0.20 percent.

The situation becomes worse, a felony, if the repeating DUI driver had an underage passenger in the vehicle or seriously injures or kills someone and if significant damage to another person’s property occurs.

Arizona Programs Reduce Repeat Offenders

Four programs in our DUI laws have made it less desirable to take the gamble of a repeat DUI conviction.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle. You won’t have access to it for a specific amount of time and you’ll have to pay the storage yard to keep it.
     
  • Ignition interlock device (IID). Breathe into this device and if you have consumed any amount of alcohol this device won’t allow the engine to start.

    Trying to defeat the IID by getting someone else to breathe into the machine brings additional charges to you and the person who attempted to defeat the machine.
     
  • Electronic monitoring. You’re at home, not in jail, but you must wear an electronic ankle or wrist bracelet that continually sends by GPS your whereabouts to authorities. You have to pay for the rent of it.

    An alternative is calling you on the phone at random times, but if all you have is a cell phone you’ll need to install a landline.
     
  • Strict probation and treatment. You’ll need to report to a probation officer, and submit to all of the terms of probation, which can be very strict.

    A probation violation means going to jail to finish the sentence. You’ll also have to successfully complete an alcohol screening education and treatment program to change your drinking habits. You also have to pay for education and treatment.

Arizona’s Repeat Offender Frequency

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1995 had reported that one-third of everyone arrested or convicted of DUI were repeat offenders. The NHTSA updated its report in March of 2014 and referred specifically to Arizona over a seven-year period ending in 2011. During that time 115,979 drivers were convicted of DUI and of those 24,308 were repeat DUI offenders.

However, the number of Arizona’s repeat offenders was reduced 19 percent, compared to Vermont which had the highest number of repeat offenders at 73 percent. Mississippi had the lowest rate, 11 percent, reported the NHTSA.

The agency noted that its recidivism rates aren’t fully accurate because many offenders drive often before they’re detected a second or third time by police or deputies.

Making the bad choice to drink and drive after a first-time DUI conviction can be a manifestation of a behavioral health issue requiring counseling and rehabilitation.

Repeat DUI Offender Punishments

Repeated DUI convictions can be detrimental to freedoms and finances.

The law allows a term of incarceration that’s determined by Arizona’s complex sentencing guidelines, which have varying levels of seriousness.
  • Mitigated
  • Minimum
  • Presumptive
  • Maximum
  • Aggravated
Judges have discretion in determining punishments and they weigh the fact pattern of the offense and other relevant factors.

Beyond that, a repeated conviction may result in the loss of a job, and for licensed professionals such as educators, doctors, accountants, commercial drivers and others, the license to practice can be suspended or revoked by the professional organization. Other driver licenses are suspended for a year and in some cases revocation and driving on a suspended or revoked license invites another charge.

Judges also impose expensive fines and fees and other related costs as noted in the anti-recidivism programs that for some can bring financial hardship and perhaps bankruptcy.

The court also can order many hours of community service and finding alternatives for traveling to the sites is necessary.

Generally, punishments in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding communities for repeat offenders are much more serious than the first DUI offense, which requires at least one to 10 days in jail, a base fine of $250 and license suspension.
  • Second DUI Offense

    A minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days in jail, a base fine of $500 and license suspension for a year.
     
  • The third Offense for Drinking & Driving

    A third offense requires a minimum of four months in jail, a $750 fine and one year of license suspension. In felony DUI convictions the law also forbids the person to own or possess a firearm, the right to vote in elections is lost, and serving in the military is not an option.

Defending Repeated DUI Charges

The first line of defense is at the traffic stop. Don’t help investigators by admitting anything!

Simply tell the investigating officer that you’re standing under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment preventing self-incrimination and that you want an attorney present during interrogation.

The defense can challenge the state’s evidence, including the accuracy of the breathalyzer or blood test, that the traffic stop was illegal and other defenses to develop reasonable doubt and to achieve the best result possible.

While experienced DUI Defense Attorneys for first-time DUI offenders may be able to reduce the charge in a plea agreement, prosecutors likely aren’t amiable to entering into such an agreement in cases involving serious and aggravated elements.

Free, Confidential Legal Advice

I encourage you to learn more about your legal rights and prospects if you’ve been charged with second or even third DUI by contacting an attorney immediately.

Contact Phoenix, AZ DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black or call (480) 729-1683 for a free, legal consultation.

I am available 24 hours a day, including holidays and I defend DUI cases in Arizona’s city, 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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