“Zero Tolerance” for drunk driving is essentially the warning by Arizona law enforcement stating they have zero tolerance for DUIs. It means they will arrest anyone who is driving under the influence. “Impaired to the slightest degree” is the actual legal definition of 28-13-81-A1 of the Arizona revised statute. This is the law that states that anyone driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, liquor or other drugs, can be convicted of a DUI even if that person is only impaired to the slightest degree while driving. It is a catch-all statute that a lot of people do not even know exists. Most people are familiar with the DUI statute regarding someone having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

What Can Someone Be Charged With If They Had A Blood Alcohol Concentration Of Below 0.08 But Above 0.00?

Under the statute 28-13-81-A1, a person can be charged with a DUI even if they are not over the .08 blood alcohol threshold, but the state can prove to a jury that because of the person’s driving behavior, the results of their field sobriety tests or any other evidence, that the person was driving while impaired to even the slightest degree. This situation is exactly why people should refuse to take field sobriety tests or the portable breath test.

Would Any Evidence From Sobriety Tests Be Used Against The Person?

Yes. It is the police officer’s job to gain evidence against someone who is stopped for a DUI so that they can make an arrest. The person has a right to protect themselves, and they give themselves a better fighting chance if they exercise those rights when they are arrested.
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What Are The Mandatory Minimums And Sentence Ranges?

In Arizona, the penalties for a DUI conviction depend on the defendant’s criminal record and the type of DUI that was charged. A previous DUI counts as a prior for the purposes of sentencing if it occurred within 7 years or 84 months of the current arrest.

The sentence guidelines presuppose a completely clean felony record because historical priors might significantly enhance any felony sentence.

Someone who had a third DUI within 7 Years or a DUI where their license was suspended or restricted would have to spend a minimum of 4 months in prison before they were eligible for probation, pardon, commutation or suspension of the sentence, or release on any other basis. The court might also take the person’s vehicle if they were driving a vehicle they owned at the time of the DUI arrest.

The person would have to pay up to $150,000 in fines, plus a surcharge and an additional $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI abatement fund. There would be an additional $1,500 assessment for arrests made after March 13, 2004.

The person’s drivers’ license can be revoked for three years and they may be placed on probation for up to five years in addition to having to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.

What Is The Law Surrounding Minors Consuming Alcohol?

There are a lot of underage college kids who drink alcohol. They do not realize that if they are arrested after they have been drinking, they can be charged with Minor Consumption of Alcohol, which is a Class 2 misdemeanor. They might have to serve up to 4 months in jail and pay a hefty fine. If they are arrested in Tempe City Court or one of the Justice courts, a conviction like this can go on their record and affect future employment opportunities or their ability to gain security clearances. In that case, the person really needs an experienced lawyer who will try to get the case dismissed, or to try to get them a diversion.

Does Arizona Have A DUI Task Force To Intercept People On A Roadway?

Yes, and especially during holidays or graduation season, people should expect that there will be a DUI task force in their area. The DUI task force is essentially a group of police organizations that gets together, usually in one place, and whose sole function is to get drunk drivers off the road. Law enforcement takes these matters very seriously. The Tempe Library is right down the street from our office. Their parking lot is often used as a location for a task force roundup and has become the home base for the task force.

Police agencies from Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and sometimes Phoenix send their vehicular units to the task force. From there, they go into local areas around the task force and pull over or stop any vehicle that exhibits even the most minor traffic violations.

Being seen not using a blinker, swerving, making a too wide right turn, not having headlights on, etc., are all reasons a task force officer might pull someone over, although those stops are usually very quick. The officer will walk up to the vehicle, put his head into the vehicle, shine a light in the person’s face and smell the person’s breath to see if they have been drinking. He will then ask the person if they have been drinking alcohol. If within 30 seconds the officer thinks the person has had any alcohol whatsoever, he will start a DUI investigation immediately.

Do The Police Have Intense Coverage In A Certain Area So People Get Pulled Over A Lot?

Exactly, and instead of having one agency from their city in the area doing investigations, they have multiple police agencies concentrated in an area. They will all be looking intently for impaired drivers.

For more information on DUI in Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (480) 447-1100 today.

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