Driving under the influence, referred to simply as DUI, is a crime that Arizona lawmakers take very seriously. The penalties associated with a DUI conviction are meant to dissuade the defendant and others in the community from committing the same wrongdoing in the future. These penalties increase with the number of drunk driving offenses committed by an individual. Receiving a third or subsequent DUI has severe consequences in Arizona.
What Is a Third DUI?
Driving under the influence in Arizona is a crime that refers to being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the impairing influence of drugs or alcohol. In Arizona, a driver is guilty of a DUI if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) level is at or above 0.08 percent – or with any amount of an impairing drug in the driver’s body – within two hours of driving a vehicle. The legal BAC is lower for commercial drivers (0.04 percent) and drivers under the age of 21 (any amount of alcohol).
In Arizona, there is something called a DUI look-back period. The look-back period is a length of time where the courts will look back at previous driving under the influence convictions and allow them to influence the current DUI case. The look-back period in Arizona is seven years. If you get two or more DUI convictions within seven years of the first, the penalties will increase and you’ll be charged with a third-offense DUI. If more than seven years have passed since your prior DUIs, however, they will not be taken into account during your current DUI case.
What Are the Penalties for a Third DUI?
A standard DUI conviction in Arizona is a class 1 misdemeanor. Being convicted of a third DUI, however, is a class 4 felony. A felony comes with much harsher penalties than a misdemeanor. Although the consequences of any DUI conviction in Arizona are severe, a third or subsequent DUI is worse than a first or second. The law in Arizona increases this offense to a felony, with penalties such as:
- A minimum of four months in jail
- Up to two years in jail or prison
- At least $4,000 (up to $150,000) in fines and surcharges
- Mandatory ignition interlock device (plus costs) for at least two years
- Possible vehicle forfeiture and impoundment
- Mandatory alcohol counseling or treatment programs
- Minimum of 30 days of community service
- Revoked driver’s license for an indefinite amount of time, with a reinstatement period of at least one year
Unlike a suspended license, a revoked license does not automatically become reinstated at the end of the revocation period. You will have to complete and submit an investigation packet and proof of SR-22 insurance (higher-premium insurance) to the Department of Motor Vehicles to regain a valid driver’s license. The criminal consequences of a third DUI can be even more severe if it is an extreme DUI or super extreme DUI, meaning there are aggravating factors such as a higher BAC or an auto accident.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help?
Arizona law does not allow a defendant facing a third-offense DUI to plead the charge down to a wet reckless, unlike a first or second DUI. It may still be possible, however, to negotiate the charges or penalties down with help from a DUI attorney in Scottsdale, AZ.
A lawyer can craft a legal defense based on the specific facts of your case, such as insufficient evidence or police misconduct. This may lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges. A lawyer will also have a relationship with prosecutors and judges that can improve his or her ability to negotiate a plea deal.
Find out how an attorney may be able to help you if you’re facing charges or an arrest for a third DUI in Arizona. Contact Rosenstein Law Group at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free, confidential case review.