Do You Have Your Plan For A Safe Ride In Place This Weekend?

This upcoming weekend, Phoenix hosts both the Super Bowl and Waste Management Open- massive events notorious for partying and drinking alcohol. If you’re planning to take part in the festivities this weekend, make sure you have a sober ride in place or you will receive a swift education about Arizona’s strict DUI laws. 

Before the weather gets too hot, Arizona is host to several large-scale events that draw in crowds like the Barrett Jackson car show, Spring Training, and the Waste Management Open, or WMO. This year, Arizona is also hosting the Super Bowl, and it falls on one of the days of WMO. That means that there should be several people out on the town this weekend, including people visiting from out-of-state. Just as we see increased DUI arrests and alcohol-related crashes around the holidays, we might expect to see similar increases in such incidents. For those who plan on taking part in drinking festivities, it’s crucial to plan a safe and sober ride home. Driving drunk doesn’t just risk lives, but DUI charges and mandatory jail time in Arizona. For your free consultation with one of our experienced Arizona DUI defense lawyers, call 602-661-0988

Golden sign with gavel and DUI law in AZ

Super Bowl Sunday & Driving Under The Influence

It’s no secret that wide-scale celebrations also mean increased rates of DUI arrests and alcohol-related crashes. BAC tracking apps show that users report similar BAC levels during the Super Bowl weekend to St. Patrick’s day, Cinco de Mayo, and New Year’s Eve. The NHTSA has also examined DUI data throughout the years as it pertains to Super Bowl Sunday. On Super Bowl Sunday, the rate of alcohol being involved in a fatal accident is around 46%, compared to 32% and 33% on the weekends before and after the Super Bowl, respectively. When you combine this with the fact that WMO will also be in full swing on Super Bowl Sunday, there is no doubt that the roads will be more dangerous in Phoenix and the surrounding area. 

Arizona DUI Penalties

Unless you plan to stay completely sober, it’s best to avoid getting behind the wheel for Super Bowl and WMO-related events. In Arizona, you can be charged with DUI- impaired to the slightest degree for a BAC of .04-.079. While many states have a clear-cut legal limit of .08, that is only the BAC at which someone is presumed to be under the influence in Arizona. For DUI purposes, someone can also be considered impaired to the slightest degree with a BAC of .05 to .079. In these circumstances, it will be up to the police officer’s judgment whether or not to arrest the driver for DUI. Someone who is convicted of this type of DUI will face the same consequences as a defendant convicted of a standard Arizona DUI. 

A.R.S. § 28-1381

Arizona defines DUI and lays out penalties for conviction in A.R.S. § 28-1381. In general, an Arizona DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor. The minimum jail sentence for a first-time conviction is 10 days, and the minimum fine is $1,250. However, many first-time defendants can have their sentence commuted to one day with a clean criminal record. The defendant will also be ordered to complete community service, a defensive driving school, and drug and alcohol screening and treatment. Someone who is convicted of DUI for alcohol (rather than drugs) will need to install an ignition interlock device, or IID, in their vehicle for a certain amount of time. They will also lose their driving privileges but may have the ability to apply for a restricted license. 

All the penalties will increase if the driver has a previous DUI conviction. There are also different tiers of DUIs in Arizona. If someone has a BAC of .15 to .19 when they are arrested for DUI, they will be charged with Extreme DUI. If their BAC is .20 or higher, they can be charged with Super Extreme DUI. The driver can also be charged with Aggravated DUI, which is a felony if any of the following factors are met:

  • Child passenger while driving under the influence (under 15 years of age)
  • DUI arrest while ordered to have an IID installed
  • DUI on a restricted, canceled, revoked, etc. driver’s license
  • Three DUIs in 7 years
  • Driving the wrong way down a highway

Out-Of-State Defense Complications

Whether they’re here to watch golf or football, some of the people arrested for DUI this weekend will probably just be visiting Arizona. This can make defending against DUI charges even more difficult. This is especially true if the defendant has limited time and financial resources. For example, in Arizona, the driver’s vehicle is impounded if they are arrested for an Extreme or higher level DUI. Here, the driver’s vehicle will not be available for pickup until 30 days after the impound. The driver will need to pay more for each additional day that the car is held in the lot. After 10 days of being available, the tow lot can file for an abandoned title to the vehicle. That means the driver will only have a 10-day window to travel back to Arizona and retrieve their vehicle or risk losing it forever. 

If the defendant is convicted of DUI, they will need to serve at least one day in jail, regardless of a lack of prior criminal history. In some circumstances, an out-of-state defendant will be allowed to serve their sentence in a jail closer to their home. However, the defendant could also be required to come back to Arizona to serve their sentence, which could prove to be a huge inconvenience. First of all, interstate travel can be expensive, and the defendant may also need to arrange for transportation to and from the airport and jail. Factoring in travel time for a jail sentence can make it harder to get the time off of work. But a skilled defense DUI attorney can make the entire process easier whether the defendant lives in Arizona or out of state.

Plan For Your Ride Home

If you aren’t staying sober for Super Bowl/WMO weekend and neither is anyone you’ll be with, you should start planning your sober ride now rather than later. If you are staying in a hotel, it may have a shuttle service available for special events. Rideshares like Uber and Lyft can be booked in advance, although their services aren’t guaranteed, and the surcharge for this weekend is likely to be steep. Traditional taxi services are still available, although not nearly as widely so since the rise in popularity of rideshare services. Some celebrants may be able to utilize the Light Rail in their weekend travel plans. There are also shuttle, party bus, and limousine services available if you can find enough friends to split the cost. Waymo vehicles should also be available for Phoenicians to use for a ride home after the Super Bowl this year.

Prompt Defense Against Arizona DUI Charges

If you’re facing DUI charges in Arizona, they need to be taken seriously and addressed promptly by an experienced attorney at Arizona Zero Down DUI. A defendant can be ordered to penalties far more severe than the state minimums, especially if the defendant has prior criminal convictions or other factors that will make the judge less likely to be lenient. To schedule your free consultation with an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer, contact us today or call us at 602-661-0988.

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