Arizona residents know the dangers of drunk driving. A DUI conviction has serious consequences and results in the loss of many personal freedoms.
Tucson resident gets nine years for hitting pedestrian
Recently, a 28 year-old Tucson man was sentenced to nine years in prison plus five years of probation by a Pima County jury for killing a pedestrian while drunk. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the victim, a 48 year-old man, was crossing a road when he was struck by the man's vehicle.
Prosecutors attempted to impose a stronger sentence because the man had a previous DUI conviction. At the time of last year's crash, the man was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.278, well above Arizona's legal limit of 0.08.
The defense attorney requested a lower sentence, calling this a tragic mistake and highlighting the man's good character. He noted that the man had stayed at the scene, took responsibility for driving the vehicle, and rendered aid to the victim.
An initial DUI conviction in Arizona is a misdemeanor, with a minimum penalty of 10 days in jail and potential fines of over $1000. Community restitution may also be imposed. The judge may reduce the jail sentence to one day if the driver agrees to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program.
An ignition interlock device is also required. Ignition interlocks require a person to perform a breathalyzer test before attempting to start the vehicle. If alcohol is detected on the person's breath, the vehicle will not start.
A minimum of 90-days in jail is imposed for a second DUI conviction, along with potential fines of over $2000, community restitution, and an ignition interlock requirement. Additionally, driving privileges are revoked for one year. The judge again retains discretion to reduce the jail sentence to 30-days for participation in a treatment program.
Extreme DUI penalties
Arizona also has what is classified as an "extreme DUI." A person driving with a blood alcohol limit of 0.15 or higher faces conviction under the extreme DUI statute.
A 30-day jail sentence is imposed for a driver with a blood alcohol level between 0.15 and 0.20. The sentence is increased to 45-days for a blood alcohol level above 0.20. A conviction also comes with potential fines of over $2000, with some amounts doubling for a blood alcohol level of 0.20 or higher. These sentences are important because it outlines how serious these offenses become, particularly if a person is charged more than once or with these more serious charges.
A driver faces up to four months in jail and increased fines for a second violation under this statute. Additionally, the driver's license is suspended for one year. These are serious charges. The overall effect not only includes possible jail time but fines and other expenses. It's especially important to have an advocate to protect a person's rights. If you face a drinking and driving charge in Arizona, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.