State DUI Laws

DUI penalties vary by state. Select your state below to read more about your state’s law.

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Arizona DUI Laws

Arizona has some of the strictest DUIs laws in the country. Here is what you need to know.

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From the moment you are pulled over, the Officer is noting everything you say and do as evidence in the case against you. According to legal experts you should:

  • Stay in your car and leave your seatbelt on unless the officer asks you to step out.
  • Provide identification.
  • Note: How easily you find your driver’s license, registration and insurance will be noted on the officer’s report.
  • You are allowed to politely refuse to take field tests. There is no law requiring you to do these tests.
  • Field tests are evidence that can be used against you.
  • The officer may tell you they will take you to jail if you don’t do the tests, but the officer is going to take you to jail anyway.
  • If asked to take a breath, blood or urine test you should do so, but you should request a private consult with an attorney before doing so.
    • Under Arizona “Implied Consent Law,” when your driver’s license was issued, you agreed to take such a test if ever pulled over. If you don’t take a breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for a minimum of one year regardless the legal outcome of your DUI.
  • You do not have to agree to a search of your car. You have the right to say no, and you do not need to explain why.
  • Remember your words can be used against you in the case.
  • If the officer has enough reason to search the car, they will secure a warrant.
  • Usually, the search question is veiled and phrased like:

You don’t have a problem with me looking in your car?

You don’t mind if I look in your car, do you?

I’m just going to take a quick look inside, okay?

  • You can politely refuse to answer questions.
  • Usually, the officer will ask you a few questions about what you’ve had to drink.
  • A simple response of, “I can only answer your questions on the advice of my attorney,” can go a long way in the outcome of your case. You don’t have to call an attorney right then. That simple statement effectively stops any questioning by invoking your constitutional rights.
  • Even when the officer reads Miranda rights to you, your answer should be the same.
  • After the officer is done with the street investigation, you will most likely be taken to the station or to a testing site. After completing the test(S), the officer may give you a form asking whether you want to preserve a sample of your test or waive a sample. Always ask that a sample be preserved.
  • As soon as the police have administered the tests, immediately make a clear request for the opportunity to obtain an independent blood draw.
  • Your attorney can explain the benefits of this simple request as they can be huge! Find an attorney.
  • Cooperate with the Police.

Cooperation means being polite and maintaining a good attitude. It does not mean answering questions or doing field tests.

Your attitude, mannerisms and words all become part of the officer’s report/case.

This is not the time to cry, apologize, confess or crack jokes.

  • Request a copy of your police report at the headquarters of the department involved in your arrest.

This is not mandatory, but you will have more fruitful consultations with an attorney in developing your defense strategy.

  • Read all paperwork you received from the police thoroughly.
  • Make note of the charges and your court date.
  • Do not lose the tow slip with information about how to retrieve your car
  • You must apply for an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit to request a hearing within 15 days. If should have a lawyer before the suspension goes into effect.
  • Consult with more than one private attorney before deciding the best strategy for you.
  • There is no cost to do this and will provide insight to your options
  • A public defender may be able to help, but they are limited to the criminal side of your case and are unable to assist with the Motor Vehicle Division actions that will occur concurrent with the DUI.
  • For most people the loss of their license is one of the biggest stressors
  • Before ruling out hiring a DUI lawyer, know exactly how much one will cost you by consulting with 2-3 of them within days of a DUI arrest. Get consultations now.
  • To avoid losing your license right away, request a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Division within 15 days.
    • The MVD is very strict with this timeline; once it’s past there is nothing you or an attorney can do.
    • When the officer takes your driver license, they will give you a form titled “Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit” which has a paragraph telling you how to request a hearing.

ADOT Executive Hearing Office
3838 N. Central Ave., Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Phone: 602.712.7737
Fax: 602.241.1624
Email: hearingoffice@azdot.gov

  •  In Arizona, depending on the DUI, you may be eligible for a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License (SIIRDL) which will allow you to drive to and from work, school and treatment during your License Suspension or Revocation.
  • Contact AZ – MVD to verify your eligibility before taking any action involved with a SIIRDL such as installing an interlock, arranging insurance or driving.
  • You may apply 45 days into your suspension or revocation.
  • Before you apply, you must have your screening and counselling completed and have an Ignition Interlock installed on your vehicle.
  • Note: A SIIRDL is not a requirement and is not credited toward any other Ignition Interlock Court Order required to get your unrestricted driver license back.
  • In Arizona, the court where your DUI case is heard can be confusing.
    • Depending on the charges, where the arrest took place, and the arresting agency you will go to one of the three different courts.
    • Superior Court, Justice Court, or a Municipal Court (aka City Court).
    • In addition, you will likely need to appear with the Executive Hearing Office of the MVD in regard to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
  • Understanding whether your Arizona DUI is a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI plays the biggest factor in where the hearings will take place.
    • Felony cases are only heard in Superior Court.
    • Municipal Courts and Justice Court have no jurisdiction over a felony case.
    • Cases initially sent to a Justice Court or Municipal Court can be dismissed and later re-filed in Superior Court if the State later finds a felony element to the case.
    • If arrested outside of the city limits, you will be sent to the Justice Court for that area.
    • This is also common for arrests on tribal land.
    • If arrested within the city limits, your case may be in either a Justice Court or Municipal Court.
  • Knowing the who, what, when and whys of your DUI penalties will make your process much better.
  • With your DUI, timing is everything.
  • Starting a penalty too early or too late will cause issues and cost you valuable time and money.
  • Selecting the right providers for you will reduce mishaps and allow smoother procedures with your DUI.
  • Understanding the cost of all penalties, in advance, and securing funding many help you stay on track to complete the requirements as quickly and affordably as possible.
  • Most providers of penalty services offer significant discounts for full payment in advance rather than monthly payments. You may want to finance your costs to save money complete the penalties as quickly as possible.
  • The legal and motor vehicle systems administering the various penalties come from different governing bodies and they don’t always align properly or communicate with one another. Keep notes and timelines for yourself.
  • Studies show if you complete your DUI penalties, you only have an 8% likelihood of ever getting another DUI. Those who do not complete the penalties you have a 28% likelihood of getting another DUI.
  • You are 3.5 times less likely to get another DUI by completing your penalties on time.
  • By completing penalties on time, you may be eligible to set-aside or expunge a DUI conviction in the future.