Arizona Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Arizona?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. Under Arizona law, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • It is illegal for a person under 21 to drive while there is any liquor in the person’s body. Under Arizona law, the offense of “underage drinking and driving” may be committed without any evidence or presumption of “impaired” driving. If an 18, 19, or 20-year old driver is actually impaired or has a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater, that driver may be charged with DUI and underage drinking and driving.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Arizona

  • A first-time DUI offender whose blood alcohol level was less than .15 must serve at least 10 days in jail, pay a fine of at least $250, and pay additional assessments of $1,000 to be deposited in the prison construction and operations fund and the state general fund. The driver’s license suspension period is at least 90 days.
  • If a person is convicted of DUI for a second time within 60 months of the first conviction, the offender must serve at least 90 days in jail, pay a fine of at least $500, and pay additional assessments totaling $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is one year. After the license is reinstated, the offender will be required to equip any vehicle he or she operates with a certified ignition interlock device. The sentencing judge may require the offender to use an ignition interlock for more than one year.
  • If a person is convicted of DUI three or more times within a 60-month period, the person is subject to Arizona’s “aggravated driving while under the influence” law. Under that law, the offender faces two-and-one-half years in prison. The offender must also attend and complete an alcohol education or treatment program, pay a fine of at least $750, as well as additional assessments of $1,750. The driver’s license revocation period is three years. After the license is reinstated, the offender will be required to equip any motor vehicle he or she operates with a certified ignition interlock device. The judge may require the offender to use the ignition interlock for more than one year.

Enhanced Penalties for "Driving While Under the Extreme Influence of Intoxicating Liquor"

Under Arizona law, a driver whose blood alcohol level is .15 or above faces enhanced penalties for "driving while under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor." A first-time offender faces a minimum jail term of 30 days, a fine of at least $250, and additional assessments totaling $2,250, to be deposited into the driving under the influence abatement fund, the prison construction and operations funds, and the state general fund. The driver’s license suspension period is at least 90 days. These offenders are also required to equip an ignition interlock device on any motor vehicle they operate for at least 12 months after their license is restored. If within a 60-month period of being convicted under this statute, the person is convicted of a second DUI, the minimum jail term is 120 days, the fine is at least $500, and additional assessments total $2,750. The driver’s license revocation period is at least one year. After the license is restored, the offender will be required to equip any motor vehicle he or she operates with a certified ignition interlock device for at least one year.

Enhanced Penalty for Drunk Driving While Carrying a Passenger Under 15

If a person is convicted of DUI while a person under 15 was in the vehicle, the offender is subject to Arizona’s "aggravated driving while under the influence" law. Under that law, the offender faces up to two-and-one-half years in prison. The person must also attend and complete an alcohol education or treatment program, pay a fine of at least $750, as well as additional assessments of $1,750. The driver’s license revocation period is three years. After the license is reinstated, the offender will be required to equip any motor vehicle he or she operates with a certified ignition interlock device. The sentencing judge may require the offender to use the ignition interlock for more than one year.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Arizona’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will lose his or her commercial driver’s license for at least one year. If, however, the DUI was committed while the commercial driver was transporting hazardous materials, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will lose his or her commercial driver’s license for life, which may or may not be reduced to 10 years.

Drivers Under 18

In addition to other penalties that may be imposed by a juvenile court judge, a driver under 18 who is convicted of underage DUI will receive a mandatory two-year driver’s license suspension. If, however, the minor commits the DUI while a passenger under 15 is in the vehicle, the minor will receive a mandatory three-year driver’s license suspension for violating Arizona’s aggravated driving while under the influence law.

Drivers 18, 19, and 20

In addition to other penalties that may be imposed, a person 18, 19, or 20 who is convicted of underage DUI will have his or her driver’s license suspended for two years. A judge may order a restricted license during this period, so the minor can drive between his home, school, and work place during specified hours according to the person’s school and employment schedule. If such a license is issued, the offender must use an ignition interlock device.

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What is Arizona’s Dram Shop Act?

Under Arizona’s Dram Shop Act, licensed drinking establishments are liable for personal injuries caused by intoxication if:

(1) the establishment sold alcohol to a person under 21 without requiring proof of age or with knowledge that the person was underage; or

(2) the establishment sold liquor to a person who was "obviously intoxicated." Under Arizona law, "obviously intoxicated" means inebriated to an extent that the person’s physical faculties are substantially impaired and the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction that would have been obvious to a reasonable person.

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What is Arizona’s Emergency Response Cost Law?

Under this law, if a person drives under the influence, causes an accident that requires an emergency response, and is later convicted of DUI, the person is liable for the costs of the emergency response up to $1,000.

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Criminal Penalties for Selling or Giving Liquor to an Underage Person

In Arizona, it is a crime to sell or give alcohol to a person under 21. Anyone who violates this law faces up to six months in prison and is subject to pay a fine of up to $2,500.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

The materials at this web site have been prepared by our Law Firm for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information provided at this site is subject to change without notice. Although we try to keep our site current and accurate, you should not rely on this information or its applicability to any specific circumstances without speaking with an attorney.
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