You may be mistaken to think you’ll get off easy if this is your first drunk driving offense. While the law is lenient for first-time DUI offenders in some jurisdictions, it’s not the case in Arizona. The Grand Canyon State has some of the strictest DUI laws.
So stringent are the drunk driving laws in Arizona that jail time is a real possibility if you are convicted of DUI, even as a first offender. Here is why.
Arizona law prescribes a minimum mandatory punishment
The truth is that you will go to jail if convicted of drunk driving in Arizona for the first time. That’s in addition to other legal and financial penalties. The length of your jail sentence will depend on your blood alcohol (BAC) levels, as explained below.
- BAC below 0.15% – a minimum of 10 days in jail
- BAC between 0.15% and 0.20% – a minimum of 30 days in jail
- BAC over 0.20% – a minimum of 45 days in jail
However, these minimum sentences are not cast in stone. A portion of the jail sentence may be suspended if you complete a court-ordered alcohol or drug screening, education or treatment program. For instance, if you fulfill these conditions, the minimum 10-day jail sentence above may be reduced to one day.
What can you do to avoid jail time?
Demonstrating rehabilitation efforts or presenting mitigating factors can help minimize jail time. However, avoiding a conviction is the surest way to stay out of jail when charged with a DUI offense. You can do this by challenging the prosecution’s evidence against you or negotiating a plea deal.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, seeking an informed assessment of your charges to identify potentially viable defense strategies is in your best interests. The necessary legal assistance will significantly increase the chances of a favorable outcome and help protect your interests.