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DUI Arizona: The Difference between a DUI, DWI and an Extreme DUI

Both DWI and DUI in Arizona charges are equally serious and carry matching punishments. Extreme DUI In Arizona carries a much more severe penalty. Arizona usually files two or three charges:

  • DUI (A.R.S. §28-1381 (A)(1)) Driving Under the Influence of intoxicating liquor (or drugs).
  • DWI (A.R.S. §28-1381 (A)(2)) Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater within two hours of driving.
  • EXTREME DWI (A.R.S. §28-1382) Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.15% or greater within two hours of driving.
  • SUPER EXTREME DWI (A.R.S. §28-1382(D)(1)) Driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.20% or greater within two hours of driving.

The key to defending against the charges of DUI in Arizona is knowing the difference between these three. If you would like a free DUI case consultation, call our offices 24 hours a day (602) 307-0808.

The DUI in Arizona charge, by itself, does not require a breath reading. It deals with suspicion of driving while under the influence, according to the manner of driving, physical and mental symptoms of impairment, or verbal admissions.

The DWI charge in Arizona does not require that the accused have a BAC of .08% or greater “at the time of driving”. Many defendants plead guilty if their breath or blood test is above a .08% (or .15% if Extreme DWI, or .20% if Super Extreme DWI). The ordinary citizen does not realize the test results only show their BAC at the time they were tested and NOT at the time they were actually behind the wheel. As one of the dui defenses in Arizona we note that there is a way to mathematically calculate what your true BAC level was “at the time of driving”. This math formula is known as a “retrograde extrapolation”. If your BAC is found to be below a .08% (or .15% if Extreme DWI, or .20% if Super Extreme DWI) “at the time of driving”, this is a possible defense.

The Extreme DWI charge is the same as the DWI charge except it requires the BAC to be .15% or greater. The punishment for Extreme DWI is 10 times more jail time than a regular first offense DUI or DWI.

The Super Extreme DWI charge is the same as the DWI and Extreme DWI charges except it requires the BAC to be .20% or greater. The punishment for Super Extreme DWI is 45 times more jail time than a regular first offense DUI in Arizona or DWI. This is true even if it is your first DUI offense ever!

By citing drivers under two or three laws, DUI in Arizona (A.R.S. §28-1381 (A)(1)), DWI (A.R.S. §28-1381(A)(2)-[BAC of .08% or higher]), and Extreme or Super Extreme DWI (A.R.S. §28-1382, if applicable) the State gets multiple chances to convict. If convicted of one or both DUI or DWI, the punishment is the same. If convicted of Extreme DWI or Super Extreme DWI, the punishment is much more severe (See the Possible Punishments section).

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Legal Update on DUI, DWI, Extreme DUI in Arizona
As of 7/17/00 the Legislature passed a law stating that this is only a defense to the DUI in Arizona charge, not the DWI or the Extreme DWI charges. However, Arizona DUI lawyers are currently challenging this change in the law as unconstitutional. This has already been successfully reversed in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

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