Thanksgiving 2023 Arizona DUI Enforcement

by Aaron M. Black • November 17, 2023

As law enforcement gears up its efforts to diminish impaired driving this year, the record shows that over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday in 2022 the number of Arizona DUI arrests inched slightly downward.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said more than 2,000 law officers made 323 DUI arrests, compared to the previous year when 350 drivers were arrested for DUIs, reported 12 News.

DUI ArrestLast year, from Nov. 23-26, law enforcement conducted 8,957 traffic stops, 444 more stops than in 2021.

Of all the DUI arrests in 2022, 75 were for extreme DUI, which begins at 0.15 percent of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Arizona’s entry level into the justice system is 0.08 percent. Among those cited for DUI, 12 people were younger than the legal drinking age.

Drug impairment arrests totaled 82, which is fewer than the previous year of 97 drug related arrests.

Authorities made these arrests using two tactics, checkpoints and rolling stops.

DUI Checkpoint Sign

DUI checkpoints

Motorists are randomly stopped at stationary checkpoints as officers look for the driver’s signs of impairment and open alcoholic containers. Because drivers are randomly selected to be stopped, officers are not in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which bans illegal searches and seizures. But drivers who attempt to avoid a checkpoint only give officers the probable cause or reasonable suspicion that is necessary to detain the driver. Checkpoints can also have a patrol car parked out of sight near the checkpoint ready to pounce on drivers who attempt to avoid it.

DUI rolling stops

The rolling stops are traffic officers who make traffic stops based on drivers who break a traffic law, such as driving too slowly, driving with the window open on a cold night, vehicle equipment failures and expired registration. These stops happen every day all year long, but more officers are on the road looking for offenders during holidays.

Drug officers at the traffic stop

Officer Looking For Signs Of Impairment At A DUI StopThe DRE officer looks for signs of illicit or prescription drug impairment, including the size of the pupils, pulse rate, muscle tone tightness or flaccidity, needle injection sites, and interrogating the driver to help determine the type of drug and a toxicology test. The driver may refuse to participate in the breathalyzer and the DRE evaluation at the cost of a license suspension or revocation.

Drinking Under age 21

Underage Drinking Leading To DUIDrivers younger than 21, Arizona’s legal drinking age, caught drinking and driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle in Phoenix face a  serious criminal offense and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) doesn’t need to be much, hardly a trace over 0.00.

Whether impairment is evidenced or not doesn’t matter. The slight trace is sufficient for an arrest. It’s a tough law, nicknamed “Baby DUI,” under the state’s no tolerance legislation. Comparatively, the limit for adults is 0.08 BAC. A trace of drugs is also an offense.

Arizona’s strict DUI laws

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation.

A motorist who is merely “slightly impaired,” whose BAC does not reach the baseline of 0.08 percent, can be charged with a DUI. The officer who makes the traffic stop determines if the driver is slightly impaired based on the officer's experience and training.

Slightly impaired varies from person to person depending upon body weight, gender, and how quickly or slowly the body’s metabolism absorbs and eliminates alcohol. Experienced drinkers have a tolerance for alcohol. The amount of time that passes between the last drink and the traffic stop is also a factor.

A motorist does not have to be caught driving to be arrested for DUI. This law is called “actual physical control.”

Misdemeanor DUI punishments

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, on a minimum DUI impaired to the slightest degree of a .08 BAC, the time in custody can be as short as one day, with the other nine days suspended upon the completion of court-ordered alcohol screening and education.

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.

Base fines total $1,500, plus the cost of jail, and the Motor Vehicles Division requires an ignition interlock device to prevent driving if the defendant had anything to drink. The court also will order alcohol screening, education and a treatment program at the defendant’s expense. Serving time in service to the community may also be part of the punishment.

Drivers who have a previous DUI conviction face more harsh penalties.

Common DUI defenses in AZ

An arrest for impaired driving is not necessarily a conviction. Several DUI defenses are available depending, of course, on the facts of the case which can be unique.

Paramount of all, the state must prove its case beyond a “reasonable doubt.”

DUI Field Sobriety Test Being Conducted

Common DUI defenses:

  • The patrol officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop, which is constitutionally necessary;
  • The officer did not administer one or more of the field sobriety tests property or failed to inquire or consider the detainee’s physical condition, which could have prevented the proper execution of the officer’s instructions;
  • The officer did not, at the moment of an arrest, recite the necessary Miranda Rights to remain silent or to have an attorney present at the interrogation;
  • The breathalyzer test result was flawed because the device was not calibrated correctly or had other issues producing an inaccurate result;
  • If blood was drawn, the sample became tainted because of improper storage or a human handling error;
  • The police report contained errors or did not include mitigating factors.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

If you or a loved one is arrested for a DUI offense celebrating Thanksgiving, it is imperative that you be promptly represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself. In my decades-long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can make mistakes and find themselves in legal difficulty. That is why I work diligently to construct the best DUI defense possible while providing emotional support and encouragement.

I will scrutinize the state’s evidence for errors, omissions, and the personnel records of the arresting officer, looking for inconsistencies and errors. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to your case.

At Aaron M. Black Law, you will receive personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me, never an assistant.

Begin your Thanksgiving DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683, 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 charges throughout Arizona, including in Phoenix and Scottsdale, as well as 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.
Google Screened Attorney - Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense
We've just been vetted by Google screening. This process provides peace of mind to consumers that the attorney they are choosing passes both business and personal background checks, has malpractice insurance, and has a current license to practice law in the state.


Subscribe to the RSS feed

DUI or Criminal Related Question?
Send me an email.

I will promptly respond unless I am in court.