DUI Defined: How Much Is Too Much in Arizona

Posted by Craig Penrod | Sep 09, 2013 | 0 Comments

Pop quiz: What's the legal limit for drinking alcohol and driving in the state of Arizona? Two drinks? Three drinks? Or does it just depend on how much alcohol is in your system if and when you're pulled over by police? Are you even required to submit to tests that might prove that you've been driving while intoxicated? Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether to get legal representation to fight a DUI charge. Can even an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer make a difference in the outcome of a DUI prosecution?

These are some of the important but confusing questions surrounding Arizona's DUI laws. The time to educate yourself about them is now, not when you find yourself standing by the side of the road in the flashing glare of police lights.

Along with many other states, Arizona lowered its legal limit in 2001, from 0.10 to 0.08. This means that anyone with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. However, Arizona law also says that you can be charged with DUI if you are “impaired to the slightest degree,” regardless of the measured BAC. On the other end of the spectrum, a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher carries a charge of “extreme DUI,” and a BAC of 0.20 or more will result in a charge of “super extreme DUI.”

How much alcohol it takes to render someone impaired or to reach 0.08 percent BAC or higher varies greatly by individual. The belief that people are safe if they limit their intake to one drink per hour is false.  Individual body weight, body chemistry and gender can greatly affect how much alcohol it will take to impair a person. It's a good idea to know your personal limits, but the safest policy is to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. The cost or inconvenience of a taxi or bus ride is nothing compared to the fines and punishments associated with a DUI conviction.

If you do find yourself pulled over some day for suspicion of DUI, you can be required to submit to some combination of breath, blood and urine tests to measure the alcohol level in your system. Under Arizona's “implied consent” law, you agreed to submit to the aforementioned tests as a condition of getting a driver's license.  Refusing to take these tests carries a one-year suspension of driving privileges and Arizona permits a police officer to forcibly take your blood after simply making a telephone call to a judge.

No matter what the circumstances, if you're charged with DUI it's wise to hire an experienced attorney. A good DUI attorney is aware of potential BAC testing mistakes and inaccuracies that can result in false test results and possible wrongful conviction.   The Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved DUI defense for more than 20 years.  Contact the DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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