Does Arizona Have Mandatory Jail Time for DUIs?
Drunk driving charges are treated seriously in Arizona. Prosecutors frequently seek significant penalties, including jail and prison time. However, the law allows for alternative DUI sentencing in Arizona for certain DUI offenders. Working with a skilled Arizona DUI lawyer is your best chance of coming out with the minimum jail sentence. A first-time offender with an experienced attorney might serve only one day of jail time. More serious offenses, especially Felony or Aggravated DUI naturally, could lead to longer sentencing times.
How Do Arizona DUI Penalties Work?
The penalty for a DUI depends on your blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether you have previous DUI convictions.
Arizona DUI offenders with a BAC between .08% and .15% will face charges of DUI and driving with a BAC over .08%.
DUI offenders with a BAC over .15% will be charged with DUI, driving with a BAC over .08%, and extreme DUI.
First-time offenders in Arizona face 10 days in jail and a minimum fine of $1,250. You will also have to undergo screening/treatment/education, and you may be required to install a certified ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You may also face license consequences.
For a second offense, DUI offenders face no fewer than 90 days in jail and no less than a fine of $3,000. Additionally, DUI offenders will have their licenses suspended for 12 months.
Alternative DUI Sentencing Options in Arizona
Jail sentences are mandatory in Arizona for DUI offenders, but Arizona law also allows the court to pardon or reduce mandatory jail time in certain situations. For instance, first-time DUI offenders in Arizona with a BAC of .08% to .15% must spend at least 10 days in jail. However, nine days of the sentence may be suspended if the defendant complies with the terms of a treatment/counseling/screening program.
In other cases, Arizona courts may deal with DUI offenders using a variety of alternative sentence options, including:
- Treatment for drugs and alcohol
- Community service
- Home detention
- Continuous alcohol monitoring
- Work release and work furlough
However, the entire sentence may not be fulfilled using an alternative method, and some time must be spent behind bars. Additionally, alternative sentencing is typically unavailable for DUI offenders if they have violent criminal records and/or multiple DUI offenses.
Home detention is an alternative option for certain DUI offenders in Arizona. It requires the use of an ankle bracelet and enrollment in an alcohol treatment program. Additionally, home detention makes use of a breathalyzer to ensure that the participant does not consume any alcoholic beverages whatsoever.
While in the alternative program, the participant must remain at home with the ankle bracelet on unless they are attending an alcohol treatment program or going to work. If a participant fails to comply with the terms of the alternative sentence, they will have to leave the alternative program and will be sentenced to jail.
Electronically Monitored House Arrest
This alternative option is often employed along with home detention in Arizona. Through the use of an ankle bracelet, this alternative program can monitor an individual's alcohol use by way of their skin. Every half hour, a report is uploaded from the ankle monitoring device.
This alternative option is used to monitor individuals who are on probation and replaces other monitoring techniques like random urine testing for drug and alcohol use.
Work Release and Work Furlough
The work release or work furlough program allows DUI offenders to go to work during the day and return to jail at night after their shift. After considering a particular DUI offender's situation, a judge will set the offender's work release schedule. Generally speaking, DUI offenders in the work furlough program cannot be out for more than twelve hours per day and cannot work more than five days out of the week.
If you are given the work release option, your case will be handled by a probation officer. The probation officer will contact your employer, explain to them the terms of your work furlough alternative program, and ensure that you show up to work during the times that you are scheduled.
Before any person is granted access to the work release alternative program, they will be screened for eligibility. Not all jobs are eligible for the work furlough alternative program. Additionally, alternative program participants must pay a fee to participate in the work release alternative program. If you are interested in this alternative program but are unsure about your eligibility, speak with your DUI lawyer to learn whether you qualify.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program
Another common alternative to serving a full sentence for driving under the influence in Arizona is participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program. The program's main goal is to treat out-of-control alcohol consumption behavior, prevent DUI offenders from racking up repeat offenses, and address their destructive drinking habits — including driving while intoxicated.
Participation in the program requires DUI offenders to sign an agreement with the court and undergo alcohol and substance abuse screening. Violating the terms of the program can lead to serious sanctions against DUI offenders.
In some situations and with certain DUI offenders in Arizona (such as offenders with more than one conviction), offenders may have their vehicle impounded. This results in significant difficulties accomplishing normal, essential tasks, such as getting to work, going grocery shopping, and transporting your children. In some cases, an experienced DUI lawyer can help immensely in getting your vehicle released.
Ignition Interlock Device
Some DUI offenders in Arizona are required to install a certified interlock device on their ignition. This device comes equipped with a breathalyzer and requires offenders to breathe into a tube before driving. If any amount of alcohol is registered while the motorist is blowing, the car will not start. This measure is typically reserved for Arizona DUI offenders with more than one DUI charge or for those with a charge of extreme DUI.
How to Determine If Alternative Sentencing Is Right for Your Case
Your unique circumstances will determine whether alternative sentencing is right for your DUI conviction case in Arizona. Your criminal record, age, the nature of your DUI charge, and other factors will influence whether you are eligible for the program.
For example, Arizona DUI offenders with multiple drunk driving arrests and convictions are unlikely to qualify for alternative sentencing. However, DUI offenders who are first-time offenders and have not been charged with extreme DUI may have access to many of the alternative sentencing options available in Arizona — such as continuous alcohol monitoring, use of a GPS tracking device, work release, and programs that use electronic monitoring with an ankle bracelet.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Arizona, contact an Arizona criminal defense attorney immediately. Once you have representation, you can rest assured that your attorney will do everything possible to get you into an alternative sentencing program if they can't get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Explore Your Options for DUI Alternative Sentencing in Arizona at The Law Offices of Brandon White
Unfortunately, jail time is mandatory for DUI and DWI offenses in Arizona. However, Arizona also allows for alternative sentencing options in certain situations.
The Law Offices of Brandon White have helped many Arizona DUI offenders facing charges in Gilbert, Phoenix, and throughout Arizona take advantage of alternative sentencing programs. And they can potentially help you. Contact us using the online form for a consultation with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney today.
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