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Arizona DUI Law

DUI Defense: No Actual Physical Control

The DUI law in Arizona used to read that any intoxicated person sitting in a car with the keys in the ignition is in “actual physical control” of their car. However, in 1995, David Michael Cantor took the case, State vs. Love, to the Arizona Supreme Court in order to change the law. He argued and won the case. Since 1995, the definition regarding whether a person has actual physical control of their vehicle while intoxicated depends on a totality of the circumstances. For example, if a person pulled over and stopped only to turn the air conditioner or heater on, then they cannot be charged with being in physical control of their vehicle. Other situations where a person would not be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle would be if a person is sitting in the car and waiting for a ride, or if an intoxicated driver is “sleeping it off”. David Michael Cantor has argued and won countless cases pertaining to individuals being charged with DUIs.

Watch this short video about the DUI Defense, No Actual Physical Control:


Each case is different, but our firm is very good at defending DUI cases. We defend individuals who may not have been in actual physical control of their vehicles during their brief intoxication. Some of the possible indications of the ‘No Actual Physical Control’ DUI defense are: if the engine or parking brake were on or off during the arrest; if the car was off the main travel road; if the car was in neutral; and if the car was in a bus pullout, parking lot or outside of a drive-thru. These are instances where attorneys can argue that the individual, though intoxicated, was not in actual physical control of their vehicle because the vehicle was not moving or putting anyone in harm’s way. However, it would be hard to argue if a person was passed out a green light, hit a pole or blew out their tires while intoxicated. This is evidence that the person was intoxicated and in actual physical control of their vehicle prior to passing out.

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If one of these situations applies to you, then contact our offices at 602-307-0808 or send us an email to get a Free Case Consultation. We are ready to discuss your case with you and find the best possible defense for your case.



Second Offense Super Extreme DUI Misdemeanor Penalties in Arizona

In this short video, David Cantor explains 2nd Offense Super Extreme DUI Penalties in Arizona:

What is a Super Extreme DUI? Technically, in Arizona, we have an Extreme DUI, which is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15 up to .199, but there’s an enhancement provision in the statute: if you have a .20 BAC or above, according to A.R.S. §28-1382(D)(1) that’s called a Super Extreme DUI. Additionally, if you have a DUI with .20 BAC or higher, and you have one prior DUI in the last seven years, then you are subject to these following consequences and mandatory minimum penalties:

  • You’ll be facing 6 months in jail. That’s 180 days in jail with none of them suspended, meaning you have to serve every one of those days. The jail costs will be $14,500, and the fine and surcharge on top of that will be $4,649.
  • You will be required to do a substance abuse screening, and whatever classes they recommend. It is $50 for the screening. The 36 classes are the minimum, and they cost $585.
  • As far as the license suspension, you’ll get a one year license suspension, and then for the next two years after you get your license back, you’ll be required to have an ignition interlock device on your steering wheel, which will run $2,000 to $2,400 over that 2 years. Now, what is this device? It’s a breath testing device that you have to blow into on your steering wheel to start your car, and every 15 minutes after it’s running, you have to blow into it again to keep it running. Then, every 90 days, you’ll have to take it down and get it tested. They will download the chip to make sure that you haven’t been driving with alcohol in your system.
  • On top of all of that, your increased insurance costs will be $3,000 a year higher than it is now for the next 3 years, so that’s $9,000 in increased insurance costs. And the SR22 requirement, which is a reporting provision, where the insurance company will tell the DMV if you don’t maintain insurance. This will run you $500 a year, or $1,500 over your next 3 years.
  • Lastly, they will require you do 30 hours of community service.

So, if you are stopped and convicted of your Second Offense Super Extreme DUI A.R.S. §28-1382(D)(1), then served your 6 months jail time, paid your $14,500 in jail costs and another $4,600 in fines, and said “I will just take the bus,” it will still cost you $21,684 over the next 3 years. And if you do want to drive and decide to get insurance, add $9,000 on top of that. Now you’re up to $30,000, this is very serious stuff! Other repercussions: if you have a CDL, it will be gone, if you’re a doctor, nurse, pilot, lawyer, if you have a real estate license, if you’re a government or military, you will probably lose your job, lose your clearance, and lose your professional status.

Please visit our Case Victories section and you’ll see that we’ve handled thousands of these and many times we can prevent admission of the prior conviction, which means 180 days drops down to 45 days. Not only blow up the prior, but potentially reduce a super extreme or an extreme DUI to a regular DUI. Now jail time drops all the way down to 1 day in jail. Our firm has done this numerous times. So, if this applies to you, or a loved one, go to our site, fill out a contact form or give us a call at (602) 307-0808 and we will set-up a free initial consultation with you. Give us a call and we’ll take good care of you.



First Offense Felony Aggravated DUI Penalties in Arizona

What is an Aggravated DUI? An Aggravated DUI is any DUI that is a third offense within seven years. For example, if you have a prior DUI six years ago, four years ago, and now you’ve been charged again, that this charge will be an Aggravated DUI. More commonly, an Aggravated DUI is any DUI in which your license was suspended when you got the DUI. That one is a serious one, because a lot of people fail to appear in court and deal with minor traffic tickets, their license is then suspended, and suddenly they are facing an Aggravated DUI. There is a third type of Aggravated DUI, that’s with a child in the car when you’re driving and you get a DUI, you can read more about that here.

David Cantor explains the Penalties for a 1st Offense Aggravated DUI in Arizona:

For an Aggravated DUI in Arizona, the mandatory minimum is four months in prison. Think about that – prison – what happens to your job? Your mortgage? Your family? This is 24 hours a day, no work release. It’s four months of actual prison time. The fine is normally waived, but you’ll still have to do a substance abuse screening for $50 and take 36 hours of classes which runs you $585. You’ll lose your license for three years and then after that, for the next two years, you’ll have to get an ignition interlock device on your vehicle – that runs $2,000 to $2,400 for that two-year period.

What is an ignition interlock device? That’s a breath testing device that’s installed on your steering wheel. You have to blow into it to start your car and every fifteen minutes after your car is running you have to blow into it again. Every 90 days, you have to take it down to the facility where they download the chip to make sure you haven’t been driving with alcohol in your system.

Insurance-wise, you’ll be required to obtain an SR-22. That is a special provision in which you pay the insurance company to tell the DMV if your insurance lapses. And they will charge you $500 per year for three years for that privilege. On top of that, your insurance will go up $3,000 a year higher than it is now for the next three years – that’s $9,000.

Let’s recap the Costs of an Aggravated DUI in Arizona:

  • 4 Months in Prison
  • Substance Abuse Screening & 36 Classes: $50 + $585: $645
  • Ignition Interlock Device $1,000 – $1,200 per year: 2 years $2,000 – $2,400
  • SR-22 $500 per year: 3 years $1,500
  • Increase in Car Insurance Premiums $3,000 per year for 3 years: $9,000

Total Costs after 4 months in Prison and 3 years license revocation: $13,545

Other repercussions besides losing your job, professional status as a doctor, nurse, pilot, lawyer, if you trade stocks and have an SEC license, a real estate license, government or military – you are going to lose your job if you get convicted of this felony. You’re also going to lose your right to vote and your guns rights. That attaches to any type of felony.

Please review our Case Victories section of our website. You’ll see that we win Aggravated DUI cases all the time. We either get them dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor DUI, which means instead of doing four months in prison you could be doing just one day in jail. The Aggravated DUI costs – approx $13,545 – can drop dramatically if we get the felony reduced. Or, we can just get the charges dismissed or win it in certain situations, if the flaws of the case are there. You’d be surprised how often that happens.

If this situation applies to you, a family member or loved one, fill out a form on our website or call us at (602) 307-0808 to set up an appointment. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it takes about 30 minutes of your time, and hopefully we’ll be able to find a way out of this for you.

Why Doesn’t Arizona Offer DUI Diversion Programs for First Offenders?

Prosecutor’s offices around the country are beginning to come around concept that first-time DUI offenders shouldn’t be saddled with a lifetime criminal conviction. That notion, in addition to the fiscal reality of bloated overtime budgets of police departments, has spawned DUI diversion programs. DUI diversion programs are offered because prosecutors and courts realize that sometimes a DUI is a mistake. Diversion allows the defendant to rehabilitate himself and demonstrate that he is capable of behaving responsibly. Will Arizona head in this direction?

How do these programs work?

In typical DUI diversion programs, such as the Back on Track Program in Florida, the defendant is required to meet certain specified conditions, such as completing substance abuse classes, performing community service, payment of fines and a substantial donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Once the conditions are met, the prosecutor’s office will either reduce the DUI charge to reckless driving or dismiss the case altogether.

Admission Criteria

Generally, only first-time DUI offenders are eligible. Even a prior DUI arrest will make someone ineligible. Some of the other exclusions specific to the DUI case are high breath test results (over .20), vehicle crashes, passengers in the vehicle under 18, a prior felony conviction and multiple traffic offenses in the 5-year period preceding the DUI arrest.

Acceptance of Responsibility

Many prosecutors’ offices either require that the defendant first plead guilty to the DUI, suspending the sentence until conditions are satisfied. Other states may allow deferred (or withheld) adjudication to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. Other programs require a plea of guilty to a reckless driving charge at the outset, making each of the conditions of the program probation conditions. The defendant might have to agree to a specified jail term in the event of a willful violation.

Another problem arises with the requirement that the defendant must accept responsibility, or admit guilt, as a prerequisite to acceptance into the program. If the Defendant does not successfully complete the program, the case returns to court. The state will attempt to admit the confession or admission and many judges participate in this process by securing a statement from the defendant that he agrees that the statement of responsibility may be used against him if the case returns to court.

Additionally, it has been known to cause problems with employers whose employee conduct manuals include language about accepting responsibility or guilt to a crime as a cause for termination. A lawyer can appeal to the state and ask them to waive this requirement by showing the manual section to the state and indicting that the provision would adversely affect the defendant.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with DUI Diversion?

Facing DUI charges can sometimes be intimidating.  If you need assistance with a DUI charge, you may wish to speak with a DUI lawyer in your area in order to see if your jurisdiction offers a DUI Diversion Program.  Your lawyer can represent you in court and help determine if you are eligible for a DUI diversion program.  A qualified attorney will also be able to assist you during the program to ensure that you complete all the program requirements.

This post is provided by Jonathan Blecher, P.A., an AV rated law firm based in Miami, Florida. For over 30 years and over 3,000 cases, Jonathan Blecher has defended good people charged with DUI and other serious crimes.

Third Offense Regular Misdemeanor DUI Penalties in Arizona

A third offense regular driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Arizona is any DUI where the blood alcohol level is .149 or less (or DUI drugs) and it is the third offense within seven years. The term is actually a misnomer because technically, a third offense in seven years is charged as a first offense felony (an aggravated DUI) in which the mandatory minimum punishment is four months in prison. Sometimes, the city court will decide not to charge the crime of third offense DUI as a felony, but rather as a misdemeanor. If the city court alleges the two prior convictions, they will want 180 days of jail time on the third conviction.

Are you looking for the penalties for a 1st Offense Misdemeanor DUI or 2nd Offense Misdemeanor DUI?


Watch this short video on the 3rd Offense DUI Penalties in Arizona:


Typically, the jail time can be work release (12 hours in jail per day, 12 hours out per day) for five days a week as the individual goes to work. The problem with this is that the jail costs will run up to $14,500 for 180 days, plus a $3,500 fine! In addition, the individual will lose their license for well over a year and be required to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for over a year (at a cost of $1,200)!

The reason the city court will charge the DUI as a third offense rather than routing it to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a felony DUI charge is because there is usually a proof problem or an issue with one of the prior DUI convictions. For example, if an individual has a DUI in Arizona and one in another state, the Arizona court does not know if they can get an accurate prior conviction packet from the other state.

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Additionally, if the judge in the prior DUI case didn’t properly read the guilty plea proceeding advisement, or the individual wasn’t told they could have an attorney which was waived in writing, there can be some serious flaws in the case. The city court would then have to fly someone from the other state in order to testify that a defendant has a valid prior conviction. As you can see, the whole process of including prior DUI convictions can become problematic for a city court. Therefore, a city court will try to charge it to a third offense DUI to see if they can get someone to plead guilty and serve 180 days in jail.

If you or someone you know has a third DUI arrest you need to call our offices immediately. Our team is highly experienced and can assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome for your case. To get a Free Case Consultation, please call or email our offices. We are available 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808.

Please take a few minutes to look over our Arizona DUI Case victories.

Here are links to other misdemeanor DUI charges in Arizona: 1st Offense Misdemeanor DUI, 2nd Offense Misdemeanor DUI.

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