Super-Extreme DUI Doesn't Really Exist
There is actually no Arizona DUI statute that uses the term “super-extreme.” It is just an informal name that has been widely adopted.
What it's not
Perhaps its nickname is responsible for several misperceptions about what happens if you’re convicted of this offense. While there are increased penalties, a conviction:
- It’s not a felony.
- Does not necessarily mean months or even weeks of jail
- A first offense will not revoke your driver’s license.
What a great experience and a great outcome!
What's so super?
To be candid, not much. The word “Super” just somehow made its way into our legal lexicon. The offense of having an alcohol concentration of .200 (+) is merely a subsection of Arizona’s Extreme DUI statute (A.R.S. 28-1382). The only things super about the offense are some of the penalties. But should they be?
When you really think about it, does it make sense to increase punishment based on an alcohol concentration? Maybe if you could really know a person’s true concentration. However, that’s not possible.
You Can't Really Know
Determining the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood or breath requires the process of measurement. By its very definition, a measurement is merely an estimation. Some are better than others.
Below are some things you should know about Arizona Super-Extreme DUI cases:
As I explained in the Extreme DUI section, the time an officer takes your blood or gives you a breath test can significantly change the result. It’s hard to find justice in punishments that could radically change based upon when a test is given.
Second, the last decade has revealed the systematic problems in Arizona’s crime labs. The Scottsdale Crime Lab used software that was known to have assigned the wrong result – to the wrong person – for years. The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Crime laboratory failed to realize that they used the wrong calibrator during blood tests for almost an entire year. And the list goes on.
If law enforcement can’t be relied upon to create valid measurements then maybe we shouldn’t be punishing people for results they call “super.”
The law can be found in the same statute as Arizona’s Extreme DUI law. A.R.S. 28-1382 is titled “Driving or actual physical control while under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor.” It provides that it is unlawful for a person to:
- Drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle;
- If the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving; and
- the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving the vehicle:
0.15 or more but less than 0.20.
0.20 or more.
Despite its ominous name, a super-extreme DUI is a misdemeanor in Arizona. A common misconception is that if a person’s alcohol concentration is high enough then the case can become a felony – this is not true!
That being said, it is possible for a super-extreme DUI to become a felony due to reasons that have nothing to with the result of blood or breath test. However, those are the same factors that could make any DUI into a felony (Aggravated DUI).
The Arizona legislature passed the legislation in 2007 and it was signed into law the same year.
The penalties for a Super-Extreme DUI conviction included:
- Jail / Home Detention;
- An Alcohol Screening / Treatment;
- Driver’s License Suspension; and
- Ignition Interlock
If you more details on the mandatory minimum requirements then…
ARIZONA DUI PENALTIES
Arizona’s adoption of a limited form of home detention (e.g. house arrest) many years ago significantly reduced jail sentences for people convicted of Super-Extreme DUI. However, there was a flaw in the program – it did not apply to DUI cases in Justice Courts. However, that recently changed.