Felony DUI: The difference between Misdemeanor DUI and Felony DUI charges

Tempe DUI Lawyer | Felony DUI | AZ DUI Defense | AZ DUI Laws

Q. Is a Tempe AZ DUI charge a Felony or Misdemeanor?
A. Tempe AZ DUI charges can be classified as either a Felony or Misdemeanor. A majority of Arizona DUI charges are classified as Misdemeanors. Examples of misdemeanor DUI include the following:
• Impaired driving to the Slightest Degree
• Impaired driving with Blood Alcohol Content -BAC Over 0.08%
• Impaired driving with a BAC Over 0.15%
• Impaired driving due to drugs – “Drugs” can include legal or illegal drugs; prescription or non-prescription drugs; dangerous or non-dangerous drugs; or drugs combined With alcohol
• DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving while driving a Commercial Vehicle
• Underage 21 drinking – With or without driving
• First Time DUI & Second DUI non-extreme Blood Alcohol Content Level – BAC
• First Time Extreme DUI & Second Extreme DUI
Q. What is the difference Between a Felony DUI and Misdemeanor DUI in Tempe AZ?
A. The main differences between a Felony DUI verses Misdemeanor DUI are primarily “aggravating” factors that surround an Arizona DUI charge, and the severity of the penalties. A “Felony DUI” is also known as an “Aggravated DUI”. “Aggravating factors” are those things that cause a DUI to be more serious or dangerous. By Law, Arizona imposes more serious sentencing and penalties on Felony DUI charges.

Q. What are some “aggravating factors” that turn a Tempe Misdemeanor DUI into a Felony DUI in Tempe AZ?
A. According to Arizona Law “Aggravating factors” can cause a Misdemeanor DUI to be elevated to a Felony DUI Charge in Arizona. Below are examples of five aggravating factors. The top three are the most common:
1) DUI with at least 2 prior DUI convictions on record within the last 7 years;
2) DUI while driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
3) DUI with a child under age 15 as a passenger in the vehicle you were driving;
4) DUI with injury and drunk driver causes an auto accident which results in bodily injury or substantial bodily harm to another person;
5) DUI manslaughter – causing a fatal auto accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Q. What type of the penalties will I face for a Misdemeanor DUI in Tempe AZ?
A. Different minimum and maximum penalties, plus mandatory sentencing guidelines apply to various types of Tempe misdemeanor DUI charges. Generally, jail time for a Tempe Misdemeanor is no less than 1 day, and no more than one year. Other penalties apply as well depending on the facts and classification of the DUI. In general misdemeanor DUI convictions can expose you to a range of sentencing including but not limited to the following depending on the facts of the Tempe AZ DUI:
1) 1 day in jail to 120 or 360 days in jail;
2) $250.00 + 80% surcharge;
3) $500.00 to $1250.00 incarceration assessment;
4) $500.00 DPS to $1250.00 DPS;
5) $250.00 Abatement Fee;
6) Incarceration expenses and cost (jail or prison);
7) Court Ordered Alcohol or Drug Screening and Treatment Expenses;
8) Probation & Fees;
9) Driver’s license suspension up to 90 days; that range to revocation of driver’s license for 1 year;
10) Mandatory Vehicle Ignition Interlock Device at Defendant’s expense;
11) Mandated Ignition Interlock Device at Defendant’s expense for specified time under law based on misdemeanor DUI classification.
Q. How are Tempe Felony DUI Charges classified?
A. The Felony Classifications are categorized into 6 levels: Class 1 through Class 6. The Class 1 DUI felonies are the most serious charges and carry the highest severity of penalties. The severity of sentencing and penalties increases incrementally in accordance with the severity of DUI. But even the lesser of punishments can be adversely life altering for a Class 6 felony.

Q. What are some of the penalties that apply to a Tempe Felony DUI conviction:
A. Felony DUI charges in Tempe AZ or any other jurisdiction in Arizona are very serious and this is reflected in the Penalties that can be imposed. Among other penalties a felony DUI conviction will expose you to the following:
1) Lengthy prison sentences verse jail time for a misdemeanor DUI charge; An Arizona aggravated DUI or felony DUI conviction will leave you with a felony on your criminal record; Jail from 1 day to 1 year; prison form 4 months to 2 ½ years;
2) Revocation of drivers’ license privileges for 3 years and other harsh penalties at the discretion of the Judge; 4) Felony DUI Fines, Fees, court costs are significantly higher;
3) Length of time for which the ignition interlock device will need to remain on your vehicle will be longer and exceeding a year for a Felony DUI conviction.
4) Fines, fees, & costs will be significantly higher for a felony DUI. Arizona Felony DUI convictions for which you may expose: This is just an example of at least one Tempe Felony DUI. All classes are subject to there own minimum and maximum penalties. Below is an idea of additional penalties that may apply:
5) Exorbitant Fines may be imposed up to $150,000.00 plus 80% surcharge;
$1500 prison assessment;
$250 abatement fee; Extended probation, Supervised Probation w/ Monitoring for drug and alcohol sobriety.
Psychological and chemical dependence Screening Costs;
Participation in Alcohol or Drug Treatment Program


This blog has been posted for general public informational purposes only. All articles by this author are intended to raise awareness and generate discussion on a variety of Arizona State Law issues and topics. Note that Arizona legislation, laws, criminal code and DUI laws and penalties frequently change. If you have a criminal or DUI defense matter related to this topic, it is important that you consult or hire an Arizona criminal or AZ DUI lawyer in the jurisdiction or municipality of Arizona where you received your charges of up to date information.

If you have been charged or arrested or have an outstanding warrant for arrest in Maricopa County for AZ DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving or any other criminal charges contact the Law Office of James Novak, for your Free Consultation at (480) 413-1499. Speak directly with experienced Arizona criminal Defense and DUI Defense Attorney and James Novak (Former Prosecutor). The Law Office of James Novak is devoted 100% to defending DUI, Drug & criminal charges in valley wide within Maricopa County including Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert Arizona, East Valley, AZ and surrounding cities in Phoenix metro area.

Posted in:
Updated: