What are Zero Tolerance Charges in Arizona?
The state of Arizona is what is known as a “zero-tolerance state”. What this means is that a police officer has the right to arrest you, even if your blood-alcohol is under .08% as long as they believe that you are impared. If this police officer can prove impairment on your part, they can take you to jail and charge you with a DUI.
Everyone metabolizes their liquor differently. Based on body weight and the number of drinks consumed, a person who weighs 200 pounds and has three standard-sized drinks would fall under the “use caution” category of blood-alcohol content levels. One hour after consuming those drinks, the blood-alcohol content should fall right around .05% for the person in the example.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety offers information on its webpage about impaired driving. On this page, you will find the penalties for a DUI at the top followed by the “Levels of Intoxication”. The state of Arizona considers one standard drink to be equal to:
- 5 ounces of 80 proof liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 12 ounces of beer
Blood-alcohol concentrations are defined:
- BAC at less than .05%- Use Caution
- BAC at .05% to .079%- May be impaired
- BAC at .08% or higher- Presumed to be under the influence
What to Do if You Get Arrested
The first thing you need to do if you are arrested under a zero-tolerance statute is to request legal counsel. Under the circumstances, an Arizona criminal defense attorney can then advise you of what you need to do going forward. Your legal counsel may request that the jail take a blood test instead of going by a field sobriety test.
One of the most common criminal defenses for a zero-tolerance charge is to have the field sobriety test thrown out prior to court. Police officers have to follow a particular protocol when conducting a field sobriety test, if even one minor detail was missed, your charges could be dropped. Rely on your criminal defense attorney to do what is best for your case.
Penalties of DUI in Arizona
A first offense DUI in Arizona comes with a minimum of 24 hours in jail to a maximum of 10 days with a base fine of $250. License suspension for 90 days up to one year, and the ignition interlock device must be installed after you receive your license back.
A second offense DUI in Arizona is a minimum of 30 days in jail with a maximum sentence of 90 days and a base fine of $500. A mandatory one-year suspension of your license is followed by the ignition interlock device being installed on your vehicle.
Third and subsequent DUIs carry a minimum sentence of four months in jail accompanied by a base fine of $750. Like the second DUI offenses, your motor vehicle license is suspended for one year with the ignition interlock device installed after you receive driving privileges again.
Working with a Lawyer
Right after getting arrested, your first thought may not be to obtain legal counsel. You probably aren’t even sure how they could have arrested you when you barely had anything to drink. If you find yourself in a jail cell due to the zero-tolerance laws in the state of Arizona, call an experienced criminal defense attorney to win your case.
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