Phoenix, Arizona – The new Arizona DUI Laws quietly took effect on September 26, 2008. The revised law has been so quiet that it has gone all but unnoticed in the media.
The new law piles on the amount of jail time for a first conviction for extreme DUI. Under the old law, a person convicted of having an alcohol concentration of .150 or greater would be sentenced to at least 30 days in jail. Of the 30 days, all but 10 days in jail could be suspended. This was the sentence that most people would get. No longer.
Now, under the new law, Judges are powerless to suspend any of the 30 day sentence. This means that the minimum jail sentence a person convicted of extreme DUI in Arizona will get is 30 days.
For second offense convictions it gets even worse. Now a judge must put the second offender in jail for 120 consecutive days. The Arizona legislature simply eliminated a judge’s ability to suspend 60 days.
Many believe that the reason for the legislature’s action is that they simply don’t trust judges to do what will make state politicians look good, especially in an election year.
Not only does this mean more people will be doing more time in jail, it also means that the system will be further burdened. In an already crowded criminal court system, DUI lawyers will have to fight more cases to help their clients avoid a jail sentence that can be life-altering to say the least.
Time will tell whether these new Arizona DUI penalties are effective at reducing the numbers of drunk drivers and DUI related accidents. One thing is for certain, it is not good to be charged with DUI in Arizona, especially in an election year.