Understanding DUI Convictions in Arizona

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws in the United States. Violation of DUI laws can result in severe penalties, including hefty fines, mandatory jail time, suspension of driving privileges, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, alcohol screening/education, and more. Moreover, a DUI conviction has far-reaching implications, from employment prospects to auto-insurance premiums. According to this, DUI is a serious crime with severe consequences. Let’s explore how DUI convictions in Arizona affect your life and whether there is any way to move past them.

Types of DUI Offenses in Arizona

In Arizona, DUI offenses are categorized based on Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels and other factors, including:

  • Standard DUI: This is charged when a driver’s BAC is 0.08% or higher (0.04% for commercial drivers). For first-time offenders, a conviction could result in up to 10 days in jail, a fine of at least $1,250, possible community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Extreme DUI: When a driver’s BAC is 0.15% or higher. Penalties for a first-time offense include at least 30 days in jail, a minimum fine of $2,500, and the mandated installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Aggravated DUI: This involves driving under the influence with a suspended, revoked, or canceled driver’s license, committing a third DUI offense within 7 years of being charged with a first DUI, or committing a DUI with a passenger if they are under 15 years old. An Aggravated DUI is considered a felony, with penalties including a minimum of two years in prison without the possibility of parole, a three-year driver’s license revocation, and other additional penalties.

Implications of DUI Convictions

DUI convictions have significant implications beyond legal penalties — impacting one’s personal life, finances, and professional future.

Employment Prospects – A DUI conviction can limit employment opportunities as it stays on the criminal record for an extended time. Employers often conduct background checks, and a DUI might deter potential employers, especially if the job involves driving.

Financial Ramifications – Convictions can lead to higher insurance premiums and considerable fines. In addition, indirect costs like legal counsel fees, court costs, and lost wage due to incarceration or court appearances can add up.

Personal Impact – Beyond the financial aspects, DUI convictions can strain personal relationships and impose stress from dealing with legal proceedings, community service, and more.

Road to Recovery

Fortunately, Arizona allows individuals with DUI convictions to petition for a “set aside,” effectively reducing the conviction’s impact. Although this does not completely erase the conviction, it alters its status, making it less visible during background checks. This can better one’s prospects when applying for jobs, housing, loans, or when obtaining professional licenses. While getting a DUI set aside in Arizona can be complicated, professional legal assistance can greatly increase the likelihood of a successful petition.


In conclusion, while a DUI conviction in Arizona carries severe consequences, there are legal avenues for recovery. It’s important to remember that awareness, prevention, and responsible behavior are the best ways to avoid the far-reaching implications of a DUI.

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