DUI & Criminal Defense

111 East Taylor Street, Suite 120
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

Glossary and Terms relating to DUI cases


Actus Reus

In Latin Actus Reus means the “guilty act.” 

Actual Physical Control

Arizona’s DUI laws were expanded to prohibit conduct beyond driving while impaired.  The statutes also criminalize being in actual physical control of a car.  The test for whether a person is in actual physical control of the vehicle is judged on the “totality of the circumstances.”  Some factors courts recognize to make that determination include:

Were the keys in the ignition?

Was the car turned on?

Where was it located?

Was it properly parked?

Where was the person in the car?

Related Case Law:

State v Zaragoza

Administrative Code

In DUI cases, the Arizona Administrative code is the set of rules used at an MVD hearing when a driver’s license suspension is challenged.

Administrative Penalties

Admin Per Se

In Latin Admin Per Se means by itself.

In Arizona when a person is suspected of being DUI by law enforcement, an officer initiates a license suspension by serving the person (on behalf of motor vehicle division) with an Admin Per Se Affidavit. This commonly occurs at the same time as when a person is given a criminal citation for DUI. 

A first-time Admin Per Suspension is for 90 days (after the first 30 days a person may be eligible for a restricted driving permit for the rest of the suspension).  After being served with the Affidavit the accused has the ability to request a hearing to challenge to suspension.

Aggravated DUI

A felony DUI in Arizona is called an Aggravated DUI.

Alcohol Concentration

The Arizona leglisture has given a specfic defintion(s) of “Alcohol concentration.”  The defintion depends in what matrix the alcohol is measured in.  When measuring it in blood the legal defintion of an alcohol concentration (“AC”) means grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams.  In breath, the definition of an alcohol concentration means grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.


Ambien is the brand name of prescription drug used to treat insomnia.  The drug’s generic name is zolpidem.

Arrest Warrant 

Bench Warrant

Blood Alcohol Content

Blood Alcohol Concentration
Borkenstein, Robert Frank:
Mr. Borkenstein started his career as a police officer and then went on to invent a machine that purported to measure alcohol in a person’s breath. He lived from August 31, 1912 until August 10, 2002.




Think of cannabis as the generic name for all things marijuana. Three week known species of cannabis are: (1) Cannabis sativa; (2) Cannabis ruderalis; and (3) Cannabis indica.

CBD (Cannabidiol):

It is one of some one of the cannabinoids in cannabis (think the generic name for marijuana plant). CBD does not cause impairment.

Criminal Liability

“The minimum requirement for criminal liability is the performance by a person of conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform a duty imposed by law which the person is physically capable of performing.” See A.R.S. § 13-201. Requirements for Criminal Liability.


To “drive” means to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

Drug Categories:

NHTSA’s DEC program recognizes seven (7) drug categories of impairing drugs: (1) CNS depressants; (2) CNS stimulants; (3) Hallucinogens; (4) Dissociative anesthetics; (5) Narcotic analgesics; (6) Inhalants; and (7) Cannabis.

Drug Impaired Driving

DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs)


Extreme DUI

An Arizona DUI with an alcohol concentration of .150 or greater.

Failure to Appear Warrant

A warranted issued by a judge for not appearing at a required court appearance.

Field Sobriety Testing


“Felony” means an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in the custody of the state department of corrections is authorized by any law of this state. See A.R.S. § 13-105.

Grand Rapids Dip


Hospital Blood Draws

Ignition Interlock Device

Impaired to Slightest Degree

The standard required for a DUI conviction.

Implied Consent

Implied consent is a legal presumption, created by the Arizona legislature, that a driver has provided consent for a chemical test and to provide a sample of blood, breath or urine sample.  Arizona’s Implied consent law is found in A.R.S. § 28-1321.  The statute provides in part:

A. A person who operates a motor vehicle in this state gives consent, subject to § 4-244, paragraph 34 or § 28-1381, 28-1382 or 28-1383, to a test or tests of the person’s blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or drug content if the person is arrested for any offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed in violation of this chapter or § 4-244, paragraph 34 while the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. The test or tests chosen by the law enforcement agency shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer having reasonable grounds to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in this state either:
1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
2. If the person is under twenty-one years of age, with spirituous liquor in the person’s body.

See the rest of the statute: A.R.S. § 28-1321



“Intoxication” means any mental or physical incapacity resulting from use of drugs, toxic vapors or intoxicating liquors. See A.R.S. § 13-105


Jail is for shorter terms incarceration. 

Knapp Counsel

Legal Limit

In Arizona, the legal limit is sometimes called the per se limit for a DUI.  It is a specific alcohol concentration which a person may not drive (or be in actual physical control) of a vehicle.  In Arizona, that legal limit starts at .08 gm/ml of alcohol in your blood. 

MADD Victim Impact Panel


Maricopa County Superior Court 


Mens Rea

In Latin means a guilty mind.

Relevant to the concept of mens rea in Arizona is A.R.S. § 13-202, which provides:
A. If a statute defining an offense prescribes a culpable mental state that is sufficient for commission of the offense without distinguishing among the elements of such offense, the prescribed mental state shall apply to each such element unless a contrary legislative purpose plainly appears.
B. If a statute defining an offense does not expressly prescribe a culpable mental state that is sufficient for commission of the offense, no culpable mental state is required for the commission of such offense, and the offense is one of strict liability unless the proscribed conduct necessarily involves a culpable mental state. If the offense is one of strict liability, proof of a culpable mental state will also suffice to establish criminal responsibility.
C. If a statute provides that criminal negligence suffices to establish an element of an offense, that element also is established if a person acts intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. If acting recklessly suffices to establish an element, that element also is established if a person acts intentionally or knowingly. If acting knowingly suffices to establish an element, that element is also established if a person acts intentionally.


“Misdemeanor” means an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment other than to the custody of the state department of corrections is authorized by any law of this state. See A.R.S. § 13-105.

Negligence (criminal)

Non-Dangerous Offense


Open Containers in Public

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI)

Operating While Ability Impaired (OWI)


Physical Injury

“Physical injury” means the impairment of physical condition. See A.R.S. § 13-105.

Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

Presumption of Innocence

The law does not require a defendant to prove innocence. Every person alleged to have committed a crime is presumed by law to be innocent.  A jury must start with the presumption that the accused is innocent.

Prior DUI Conviction

Probable Cause



Psychomotor Tests

Quashing a Warrant

When a judge ordered that a warrant be ended it is called referred to as being “quashed.”

Recklessly (Reckless Disregard)

A person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that conduct will result in something prohibited by Arizona law.  The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregarding it is a gross deviation from what a reasonable person would do in the situation. See A.R.S. § 13-105.

Arizona law also provides that it is not a defense that a person who created such a risk was unaware of it solely because of voluntary intoxication.

“Recklessness” is more than merely engaging in “dangerous conduct” because of the conscious disregard for the known danger. State v. Huffman, 137 Ariz. 300, 670 P.2d 405 (App. 1983).

Recreational Drugs

Restoration of Rights

Search Warrant

Security Clearance

SR-22 Insurance – Proof of Financial Responsibility

Substance Abuse Screening

Super Extreme DUI

Testing for Cannabis

Under the Influence


A “vehicle” means a “device in, upon or by which any person or property is, may be or could have been transported or drawn upon a highway, waterway or airway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.” See A.R.S. § 13-105


Zero Tolerance