How do Arizona DUI Laws Compare to Other States?
Arizona is recognized as one of the states that have the strictest regulations and the toughest DUI penalties. How do Arizona DUI laws compare to other states? Just like a few other places in the US, Arizona is a zero tolerance state. In addition, there are enhanced penalties for high blood alcohol content (BAC).
The Strictest DUI Laws in the US
Arizona easily ranks as one of the top states when it comes to strictest DUI laws and penalties. Long jail terms and license suspensions even for first-time offenders are applicable in the state. In addition, it is one of only eight states that have a zero tolerance policy for young and inexperienced drivers. The other states with a zero-tolerance policy are Alaska, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina and Oregon.
The other important consideration is enhanced penalties for people who drive with a certain BAC level that’s considered very high. In many states, this enhanced level is 0.16 and even 0.20 percent. In Arizona, a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.15 percent leads to stricter penalties than those for DUI with a lower BAC.
The number of other states that have enhanced penalties for DUIs committed with BAC over 0.15 percent is higher than those that impose a zero-tolerance policy. Some of the other states that have adopted similar regulations include Wyoming, Wisconsin, Virginia, Washington, Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, Maine, Louisiana and Indiana. Only one state has a stricter limit – New Jersey with its enhanced penalties for BAC of 0.10 percent or higher.
In Arizona, the minimum jail time for a first-time DUI conviction is 10 days. Second-time offenders will have to spend at least 90 days in jail. There will also be a license suspension, community service, fines and the installation of ignition interlock devices (IID) in the automobiles of offenders.
The only other two states that have such serious minimum jail sentences are Georgia and Oklahoma for first-time offenders. Second-time offenders face quite serious penalties in numerous states, including a 120-day minimum jail sentence in states like Connecticut and 180 days in West Virginia.
States that have the Most Lenient DUI Laws
While Arizona ranks among the states that impose serious measures to reduce the risk of DUIs, some other parts of the US have much more lenient regulations.
Places like South Dakota are on the other end of the spectrum. The state doesn’t have a minimum jail sentence requirement for first and second-time offenders. The administrative license suspension also lasts just 30 days in comparison to the 90-day penalty in Arizona. There’s no requirement for vehicle impoundment and people who commit DUIs don’t face the installation of ignition interlock devices.
Other states that have relatively lenient DUI regulations in comparison to the strict Arizona measures include District of Columbia, Ohio, North Dakota and Idaho. These states don’t have a minimum jail sentence for first time offenders, except for Ohio (where the jail time is three days). Vehicle impoundment and IID installation doesn’t occur for first time offenders. Ohio is the only one among these states that has a requirement for IID installation for second-time offenders.
Commercial Driver Regulations
The laws and penalties mentioned so far do not apply to individuals who hold a commercial license. In Arizona, the penalties for such drivers are even more serious because of the responsibility that stems from their professional occupation.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers in Arizona can be charged with DUI if their BAC is even 0.04 percent. In the case of a first-time offense, the holder of a commercial license will face a one-year suspension. The normal license of such drivers will also be suspended for a period of 30 to 90 days. A second offense leads to a lifetime commercial license suspension, making it impossible for such drivers to continue practicing their profession. To summarize Arizona DUI laws compare to other states are harsher, so it is imperative to contact experienced DUI lawyers immediately.