Arizona is considered to have one of the most stringent DUI penalties in the nation. Individually, Arizona penalties aren’t the harshest, but the sheer number of penalties and fines will make sure you’ll never want ever to get caught driving stoned or intoxicated again.
Mandatory Jail Time
There’s no way to avoid jail once you’re convicted of a DUI. Even on your first offense, you can get sent to prison for up to ten days. Of course, most first-time DUI convictions have nine of those days suspended. So unless your circumstances were particularly egregious or you managed to get on the judge’s nerves, expect to spend a day in jail. However, that one single day in prison will cost you — literally.
Sky High Fines
Once you’re convicted, expect to pay expensive fines — a lot of them. The base fine for a DUI is $250, but hardly anyone gets the base fine. The majority of DUI violations get fined around $1,500, and the maximum penalty you can receive is $2,500. However, there are other “hidden” charges. That one day in jail, it costs you an additional $500 in prison construction charges and state general fund charges. Double that amount if your DUI was extreme and triple it if it was aggravated. You’ll also have to pay 80 percent of your actual DUI fine as the cost for your 1-day stay in prison
Higher Insurance Premiums
A DUI conviction shows the state that you were willing to put yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk, and it punishes this by requiring you to get high-risk driver insurance, commonly known as SR-22. You’ll need separate SR-22s for every vehicle that you’ll drive, including the cars in your workplace. An SR-22 is quite expensive, sometimes costing $1,500 or more each year. Companies are known to just fire employees, instead of shouldering the required insurance needed for that single employee to drive a company vehicle.
An Interlock Device for Your Car
One way the state can prevent you from driving drunk is making sure that you can’t. For one year, you’ll need to use a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) or interlock device every time you want to start your car. An interlock device is a Breathalyzer connected to your car’s ignition system, and every engine start requires a successful test. Once you are driving, the interlock device will periodically need additional tests to make sure you aren’t drinking while driving. Interlock devices usually cost around $200 to install and require constant maintenance that can cost $60-$100 a month.
Seven Years in the System
A DUI conviction stays in the system for seven years before getting wiped. That’s assuming you don’t commit another violation within that period. If you do commit another offense, expect harsher penalties and even higher fines.
Arizona DUI laws are harsh but not without reason. Penalties, fines, and other financial burdens are piled on delinquent drivers to make sure they learn their lesson and to make Arizona reads a little safer.