Stakes are high for DUI, and Underage Drinking; Consequences extend beyond criminal charges.
Starting August 15, 2013 nine agencies joined to form a “Safe and sober” campaign task force. The Campaign began at the beginning of the ASU fall semester, and lasted three weeks to end on September 1, 2013, of Labor Day Weekend.
The Law Enforcement Agencies that joined together and included efforts of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale Police Departments. The campaign included enforcement of liquor laws as well as educating the community about traffic, bicycle and pedestrian safety and the dangers of youth alcohol consumption, and enforcing nuisance/party ordinances.
Within the first three days, there were 867 citations, 371 arrests, 1421 stops, and 91 total DUI arrests in violation of A.R.S. 28-1381. Of these there were a disturbing number of minor in possession of alcohol arrests (111 such arrests) in violation of A.R.S. 4-244 of Arizona criminal code. The second weekend saw 486 arrests. Over the first two weekends, there were 857 arrests, with 319 for minors in possession of alcohol. Over Labor Day weekend alone, there were 656 DUI arrests; 126 of the Labor Day arrests were for Drug DUI in violation of A.R.S. 28-1381 A (1) & (3).
Arizona Misdemeanor DUI Laws and Penalties – First Offenses
All impaired driving arrests in Arizona are serious. The average Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for those charged with DUI during the campaign exceeded 0.15 percent, which means makes it even more serious. Extreme DUI charges in violation of the Arizona Extreme DUI Laws A.R.S. 28-1382 (.15 percent or greater) carries harsher penalties. Some of those arrests fell under the Arizona Super Extreme DUI laws (.20 percent or greater), and carry the most severe Misdemeanor DUI penalties. Generally DUI charges that involve higher BAC levels call for longer the incarceration terms. First Office Minimum Misdemeanor DUI penalties call for 10 consecutive day jail terms; first offense Extreme DUI sentences call for 30 consecutive day jail terms; and first time Super Extreme DUI convictions call for 45 consecutive day jail terms. Other penalties for first time DUI convictions include fines, fees, and assessments that range from $1750.00; Suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of 90 days; use of Ignition Interlock Device on the Defendant’s Vehicle 6 to 18 months once driving privileges are reinstated; participation in mandatory alcohol/substance abuse screening, counseling, or treatment, probation, or community services.
Arizona is a “Zero Tolerance” state, meaning it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to be found with any spirituous liquor in their system. Convictions for Underage 21 consumption of alcohol also results is usually a misdemeanor punished with a criminal record, a $500 fine and court costs, community service plus 2 years suspension of your driver’s license. Possession of alcohol by a minor is another charge with similar penalties. It permits a minor to be charged for being close to alcohol and having it accessible.
Underage 21 DUI penalties are particularly harsh. Unlike adult DUI charges, which are usually brought for actually being impaired to the slightest degree, or having BAC of .08 while driving, a minor may be charged for driving with just one drop of alcohol in his or her system. A Class 1 misdemeanor, under age DUIs are punishable with $1500 in fines and costs, up to 10 days in jail, loss of driver’s license for up to 2 years, and community service. Nine of the 10 days in jail can be suspended if a defendant agrees to complete an alcohol treatment program.
Collateral Consequences of DUI or Alcohol Related Convictions
Adult DUI Convictions – Consequences of any DUI convictions for adults often reach far beyond criminal sentencing and have adverse impacts on many areas of a person’s life and family. Some consequences can include loss of residency; loss of income; loss of job or ability to get a job; inability to obtain auto or health insurance; high surcharges or premiums and even non-renewal of insurance; and a criminal record that will follow them for years into the future.
Minor Consumption and Under Age 21 DUI Convictions- The consequences of a DUI or Minor Consumption conviction can reach far beyond even the devastating criminal penalties. Other consequences are social stigma, expulsion from school, and a criminal record. The last is especially serious because it means every time a minor is asked about his or her criminal record when applying for college, graduate school or a job, he or she will have to disclose the information and explain what led to the conviction for a DUI. Consequences of a conviction can also result in an athlete being suspended from athletics; loss or denial of scholarships; or financial assistance programs.