DUI & Criminal Defense

2501 North 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006

First Offense DUI Arizona (Updated 2020)


First Offense DUI Arizona

Being impaired or having an alcohol concentration above the legal limit

An Arizona DUI Citation

After being arrested you get a piece of paper called a citation. It’s just a list of everything they claim you did wrong. You expect it to say DUI. But, it says more.

The citation claims that you committed two DUI’s. At this point, you’re thinking this is crazy. After all, how can someone get two DUI’s for the same case?

Let me explain:

Just about everyone arrested for a DUI in Arizona will get charged with, at least two, separate but related DUI offenses.

The two Arizona DUI offenses are driving:

1. While being impaired to the slightest by alcohol

2. Having an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. 

Sulley You're wasting time. We need a new team.
Mike: We can't just "get a new team"! I checked this morning, it's against the rules.
Sulley: What if we disguise the new team to look like the old team?
Mike: Oh no, we are not cheating!
Sulley: It's not cheating, it's... leveling the playing field.
Sulley: Okay, so it's kinda cheating.

-Sulley, Monsters University.

“…It was miracle!  A lot of people don’t really understand the benefit of having an attorney who used to be a prosecutor. They know all the little tricks and scare tactics the state has as opposed to just hiring an attorney who is a little fish in a big pond.”

Joe C., Real Client, Phoenix, AZ

What's the Difference?

In science class, your teacher would explain that these allegations are actually the same thing.

In Arizona, the legal limit for a DUI starts at .08. This limit is based upon a scientific reality.  It is generally accepted in the scientific community that if your alcohol concentration is .08 (+) then you are likely impaired for the task of driving. Conversely, if you are impaired to drive a vehicle, your alcohol concentration is probably at or above .08. 

First Offense Arizona DUI

Impaired While Driving

Arizona DUI

Within 2 Hours

The real legal difference is the timing of a DUI violation.  The impaired charge concerns your physical and mental condition at the time of driving. However, the per se charge that alleges your alcohol concentration is above the legal limit goes beyond the time of driving.  It concerns your alcohol concentration up to 2 hours after driving.

Here’s the kicker:

So how do your two DUI charges become one? The answer is Arizona DUI laws requires that, if you are convicted of both charges, the penalties must run concurrently.  Put another way, courts are not permitted to increase the penalty if you are convicted of both counts of DUI.

Arizona DUI First Offense

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an Arizona DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor?

A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor unless there other specfic circumstances present (i.e. suspeneded license, wrong way driving, child in vehicle, etc.)

What are the defenses to an Arizona DUI?

Yes.  Here is an entire section devoted exclusively to DUI defenses.  LET’S GO.

What if I am an out-of-state visitor who was arrested for DUI?

It is extremely common that someone who is visiting Arizona from another state is arrested for DUI. I regulalry handle these cases.  I make every effort to have you appear telephonically with both the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

An Arizona DUI may affect your driving privileges in the state you reside in. Consequences vary by state. In addition, depending on the court in which your DUI is being prosecuted and the facts of the case, you may be able to resolve your DUI without retuning to Arizona.

Penalties for being convicted of an Extreme DUI charge can include:

  • Driver License Suspension
  • Fines
  • Incarceration (a term of jail)
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
  • Substance abuse screening and recommended treatment

Here is an extensive and specfic explaination of Arizona DUI penalties.

Yes. In Arizona, field sobriety tests (such as eye tests, one-leg stand, walk and turn, finger-to-nose tests, etc.) are voluntary.

Practically speaking, police cannot force you to perform field tests.  

However, Arizona Courts have ruled that you have no right to counsel until you are placed under arrest. The officer is asking you to perform field sobriety tests in order to gather more evidence against you. In most circumstances, we recommend that you refuse the test and ask to speak with an attorney.

If you refuse any type of chemical test that would determine your blood-alcohol concentration, your driver’s license will be taken away for at least one year. Moreover, most officers, after your refusal will then obtain a search warrant and take your blood.

Arizona law provides that any person who operates a motor vehicle and is arrested for an offense related to drinking and driving is presumed to have given consent to a chemical test (blood, breath or urine). Consequently, if you refuse to take a chemical test of the officer’s choice, the officer may obtain a search warrant and forcibly take your blood.

Arizona DUI law is extremely complicated and has severe consequences. DUI law is commonly referred to as a minefield. An attorney must be competent in the Arizona Rules of “Criminal” Procedure, the Arizona Rules of Evidence, the United States and Arizona Constitutions, and the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles Rules and Regulations.

An attorney cannot do anything for you unless he or she has extensive experience in these areas.  Police officers are only human and do commit legal errors.  However, only an experienced DUI attorney will be able to find these errors and use them to help his or her client.

You should choose an experienced DUI attorney for the same reason you should choose a qualified doctor. If you break your wrist, you go to a doctor that specializes in wrist injuries. When you are charged with a DUI, you should hire a qualified DUI attorney.

An experienced Arizona DUI attorney can analyze your case for legal errors and defenses. He or she can have blood samples independently analyzed, look for suppression issues, review calibration / COBRA records of breath machines, find the right expert witnesses for your trial, and assist you with your driver’s license issues.

No. You cannot choose which test the officer will perform on you. In Arizona the three most common tests are blood, breath and urine.

While you cannot choose the test the officer performs, you may obtain your own independent sample.  Depending on the facts of the case, we will recommend the appropriate type of sample for you to obtain.

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