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    ARIZONA DUI TERMS AND DUI DEFINITIONS

    DEFINITION:

    This is the rate at which your bloodstream absorbs the alcohol you are drinking. Factors that affect your absorption rate include your weight, age, gender, the number of drinks you have, how long of a period you drink for, and more.

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    DEFINITION:

    Even if you aren’t convicted of DUI, your license can be suspended for one year if you refused breath or chemical testing of your sobriety. You will need to request a MVD hearing within 15 days of your arrest if you want to fight the administrative license suspension.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Your charges may be increased to aggravated, or felony, DUI if one or more of the following factors are present: there is a passenger under 15 in the car with you; this is your 3rd DUI in 7 years; you are driving with a suspended license; or you have an IID installed. Your punishments will be far more severe if convicted of Aggravated DUI.

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    DEFINITION:

    If you fail to appear at any court-ordered appearances after your DUI arrest, an arrest warrant will be ordered. The arrest warrant will remain active until you are placed under arrest or the case is otherwise resolved.

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    DEFINITION:

    You can be issued a bench warrant for failing to appear and also for failing to complete terms of your probation or parole. If you have an arrest or bench warrant out in your name due to a DUI arrest, you should contact a defense attorney immediately.

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    DEFINITION:

    BAC is short for blood alcohol concentration, and is the standard used for DUI arrests and sentencing. The standard legal driving limit in most states is .08, but in Arizona you can be arrested for a DUI as low as .04. You may be charged with Extreme or Super Extreme DUI if your BAC is especially high.  

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    DEFINITION:

    A blood test is a chemical test conducted in a laboratory to measure your BAC. Your attorney may challenge the accuracy of the blood test and arrange for independent lab testing. If the police officers broke the chain of evidence procedure, you may also have a defense for your case.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Breath tests, often referred to as breathalyzers, measure your BAC from the air in your lungs. Your attorney may attack breath test results based on handling or your medical conditions that affected the reading.

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    DEFINITION:

    Most people convicted of DUI in Arizona are required to complete volunteering hours before their driver’s license can be reinstated. The defendant can expect at least 30 hours of community service.

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    DEFINITION:

    DUI, or driving under the influence, is a serious offense in Arizona. All DUI convictions come with mandatory jail time, and those convicted will be fined thousands and incur thousands in other expenses, as well. Those arrested for DUI should consider hiring an attorney to attempt to have the charges dismissed or reduced, or to take the case to trial.  

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    DEFINITION:

    You can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs besides alcohol, even those that are legal and prescribed to you. A common example of this is medical marijuana.  Many marijuana users will test positive for DUI purposes even days after they have last smoked.

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    DEFINITION:

    If your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.199 at the time of your arrest, your charges will be upgraded to Extreme DUI. The minimum jail sentence, fines, license suspension period, and more will be increased with an Extreme DUI conviction. The minimum jail sentence for an Extreme DUI is 9 days.  

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    DEFINITION:

    In Arizona, a felony is a crime punishable by a sentence of at least six months. There are six degrees of felonies in Arizona, with the first degree being the most serious. Most DUI charges in Arizona are misdemeanors, but some are charged as fourth and sixth degree felonies. Besides the longer jail sentence, a felony conviction will make it much more difficult for you to find employment and housing in the future. You will also lose civil rights such as the right to vote and the right to run for public office.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Field sobriety tests are initial tests administered by a police officer to gauge your level of intoxication before proceeding with breath and chemical testing. Common examples of field sobriety tests are standing on one foot, walking in a straight line, and reciting the alphabet backwards. You may also be asked to complete a horizontal gaze nystagmus, where an officer will have you follow a light with your eyes and watch your pupils for signs of intoxication. You may refuse to perform field sobriety tests without an automatic one year administrative license suspension.  

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    DEFINITION:

    The minimum fine for a DUI conviction in Arizona is $1,250. The judge may use their discretion to order you to pay a higher fine, and the minimums increase for subsequent offenses and Extreme and Super Extreme DUIs. Court costs are expenses you must reimburse to the court for your conviction. You can expect court costs to be anywhere between $25 and $1500.

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    DEFINITION:

    You may be required to install this device, often referred to as an IID, on your vehicle’s ignition after a DUI conviction. You will be required to blow into your vehicle every time you start your car, which won’t start if the device detects alcohol. You will have to pay a monthly fee of about $80-$130 for your IID, possibly in addition to an installation fee.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Under § 28-1321, anyone operating a motor vehicle in Arizona has given implied consent to breath and/or chemical testing to prove BAC for DUI arrest purposes. Your driver’s license will receive an automatic 12 month administrative suspension if you refuse to submit to BAC testing. The police will usually be able to obtain a warrant for testing, even if you refuse or it is late at night.  

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    DEFINITION:

    An intoxilyzer is a type of machine police officers will use to breath test your BAC. Your intoxilyzer results can be used in court against you, but you will face an automatic one year license suspension if you refuse to submit to testing.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Drivers convicted of a second and subsequent DUI will face license revocation, as opposed to suspension. After your ordered revocation period is over, you will need to apply for a new license and possibly attend a hearing at the MVD. You will also have to pay additional fines and penalties.

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    DEFINITION:

    First-time DUI offenders face a license suspension of 90 days or more. Your license will also automatically be suspended for 12 months if you refuse breath or chemical testing. Your attorney may be able to negotiate permission for you to drive to school, work, etc. during your license suspension.  

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    DEFINITION:

    The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that while placing you under arrest, the arresting officer must advise you of your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney, etc. before interrogating you. These are known as your Miranda Rights. If the officer fails to read you your Miranda Rights, statements you make after your arrest may be excluded from use as evidence in the case.

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    DEFINITION:

    In Arizona, a misdemeanor is a charge that is punishable by 6 months or less in jail. Most Arizona DUIs are misdemeanors unless one or more aggravating factors are present.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Police officers use this machine to measure a driver’s BAC. PBTs aren’t highly accurate and only gives the officer a general idea of if the driver is drinking. You may refuse a PBT without a 12 month license suspension, but will face suspension if you refuse BAC testing after arrest.   

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    DEFINITION:

    This is standard the police officer will use when deciding whether to arrest you for DUI. Probable cause means the officer reasonably believed a crime has occurred, whether that is your behavior, if you passed field sobriety testing, statements from eyewitnesses, and more.  

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    DEFINITION:

    You may have some or all of your jail sentence suspended and replaced with probation. You will be assigned terms upon your release, and an officer assigned to your case will monitor you to make sure you are complying. You may also be required to submit to alcohol testing during probation.  

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    DEFINITION:

    After a driver’s license suspension or revocation, you might regain the right to drive only on a limited basis. You may only be able to drive during certain hours, or for certain purposes, such as going to work or taking your child to school.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Like probable cause is the standard that must be met for you to be arrested, reasonable suspicion is the standard that must be met for the officer to pull you over. In a DUI case, reasonable suspicion usually has to do with how the defendant was driving, whether they were speeding, failing to use headlights and turn signals, failing to obey traffic signals, swerving, etc.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Proper administration of a breath test that you don’t burp or regurgitate immediately beforehand. Your BAC may read higher than it actually was if this is the case, and your attorney can attack your breath test results in court.  

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    DEFINITION:

    Restitution is the term for a court ordered fine you may have to pay if someone was injured as a result of your driving under the influence. The driver may be required to pay the restitution in full before their driver’s license may be reinstated. Restitution can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, and the victim may eventually use means such as wage garnishment to collect.

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    DEFINITION:

    As time passes, alcohol can continue to absorb into your bloodstream. This defense can be used if there was a delay being pulled over and your BAC being tested. Under this theory, your BAC may have been under .08 while you were driving, but it increased as you were in custody, before you were tested.  

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    DEFINITION:

    It isn’t uncommon for someone to be arrested for DUI while “sleeping it off” in their vehicle. Arizona DUI law requires that the defendant not actually be driving, but be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. Your attorney may use factors like where you were in the vehicle or where your keys were stored to argue that you truly were sleeping it off.

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    DEFINITION:

    Super Extreme DUI is the next step up from Extreme DUI, used in cases where the driver’s BAC is .20 or higher. You will need to serve a minimum of 14 days in jail if convicted, and the prosecutor may push for a much higher sentence. You can also face having to use an IID for 18 months or more if convicted.

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    DEFINITION:

    In Arizona, drivers under the age of 21 can be arrested for even a trace amount of alcohol in their system. Those drivers will face all the same penalties as drivers over the age of 21, even if their BAC was .001 at the time of arrest.

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