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Misdemeanor DUI

Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys

When you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you need a lawyer who will fight for you and knows how to get results. The lawyer you choose may be the difference between going to jail or not.

There are four (4) different classifications of drinking and driving offenses. First, it is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor or any combination thereof. Second, it is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or more within two hours of driving. Third, it is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a BAC of .15 or more within two hours of driving. Fourth, it is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a BAC of .20 or more within two hours of driving.

These are separate charges. A driver can be charged with one or all of the above listed offenses. Usually, if a driver submits to a chemical test, which results in an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, he/she will be charged with two offenses. If a driver submits to a chemical test which results in an alcohol concentration of .15 or more, he/she will be charged with three offenses. If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test and none is performed, he/she will only be charged with driving under the influence (assuming the officer has enough evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest). A person charged and convicted of one or all of the aforementioned is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.


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Substance abuse screening

If convicted, a first-time offender or a repeat offender must complete a substance abuse screening. If the court or the screening facility determines that the offender has a substance abuse problem, the court may order the offender to obtain counseling, education or treatment. If the offender has the financial resources to pay all or part of the screening, counseling, education or treatment, then the court shall order him/her to do so. All programs must be approved by the Department of Health Services.

Arizona penalties for DUI first-time offender, non-extreme

The statute requires the court to sentence a first-time offender to serve not less than ten consecutive days in jail. However, the court may suspend all but 24 consecutive hours of the sentence if the offender completes an alcohol abuse screening and education program. Since the statute stipulates consecutive hours, the court cannot give credit for any time served on the day of the arrest.

The statutes also require a fine of not less than $425 plus surcharges, administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order the offender to perform up to 40 hours of community service and to attend a class called the Victim Impact Panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In addition, the offender will also be placed on 12 months probation which can be monitored or unmonitored.

Penalties for a second offense, non-extreme

A person convicted of a second DUI offense within 84 months of the first, or a first-offense DUI and has previously been convicted in another state for a first-offense DUI/DWI that is similar to Arizona law, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The dates of commission of the offenses are the dispositive dates in determining the 84-month period. A second-time offender is subject to the same sanctions as a first-time offender regarding an alcohol screening, counseling, education, treatment and payment.

The statute requires the court to sentence a second-time offender to serve not less than 90 days in jail. The court may suspend all but 30 days of the sentence if the person completes a court-ordered alcohol screening, counseling, education and treatment program. If the person fails to follow through with counseling, education or treatment, the court will issue an order compelling the person to show cause why the remaining 60 days should not be served. 30 days must be served consecutively unless the sentence includes a provision for work release, which is discussed below. Then the requirement is reduced to 48 consecutive hours followed by release for work purposes. The statute requires a fine of not less than $800 plus surcharges, administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order community service, the MADD Victim Impact Panel and supervised probation.

Extreme DUI – first offense

It is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .15 or more. Any person convicted of extreme DUI shall be sentenced to:

  • Serve not less than 30 consecutive days in jail, but the court may suspend all but 9 days so long as certain requirements are met.
  • Pay a fine of at least $400 plus surcharges, assessments and administrative costs
  • Complete an alcohol screening and treatment

The person may be ordered to complete community service as well as attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel.

Extreme DUI – second offense

If any person is convicted of extreme DUI and has previously been convicted of extreme DUI or a non-extreme DUI, then the court shall order a jail term of 45 days, but the court may suspend all but 14 days so long as certain requirements are met. A period of supervised probation for approximately 12 to 24 months is required upon release from custody. The court will also order a fine of at least $800 plus surcharges, assessments and administrative costs. In addition, the court will order an alcohol screening test, treatment, revocation of driving privileges for one year and may order a period of community service.

Interlock devices

When a person is convicted of regular DUI, extreme DUI, super extreme DUI or aggravated DUI, the law requires the installation of an interlock device on any vehicle to be operated by that person. An interlock device connects a Breathalyzer to the vehicle?s ignition system. The device will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the driver blows into the device and the person?s alcohol concentration is below a preset level. The costs for installation and maintenance shall be paid by the driver, and the court may order it to be used from one to three years. The driver will also be required to show proof of compliance and proof of inspection for accuracy at least once each calendar year. Failure to provide compliance and calibration records may require the driver to maintain the interlock device for an additional year.

Work release programs

First- and second-time offenders are eligible for work release. Whether or not a person?s sentence will include work release is left to the discretion of the court. If a person is employed or is a student, the court may permit the person to be released from jail only long enough to complete the actual hours of employment or studies, up to 12 hours per day, and not more than six days per week. However, a first-time offender cannot start a work release program until he/she has served at least 24 consecutive hours in jail. Likewise, a second-time offender must serve at lease 48 hours in jail before a work release program may begin.

Home arrest

Second-time offenders may also be eligible for home arrest. There are several requirements that must be satisfied before a person may be accepted into this program. Begin working on satisfying those requirements well before the time of sentencing. The probation department?s approval is necessary before the court will place someone in the home arrest program. Also, the individual must not have any prior felony convictions. The home arrest sentence will include 48 consecutive hours in jail, 13 days on work release and 45 days of home detention. The person will be allowed to leave the home to work, attend school or attend treatment.

Serving clients in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Tucson, Gilbert, Chandler and throughout Arizona For a free consultation with compassionate, experienced legal counsel, call 520-325-6500 or 480-366-5786