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What Is an Aggravated DUI?



What Is an Aggravated DUI?

There is never any scenario where driving under the influence is okay. It’s an irresponsible act that needlessly endangers you and the people around you. Notably, there is an even more irresponsible version of that action known as an aggravated DUI.

DUI and aggravated DUI charges are not the same. They come into play under different circumstances. The penalties associated with them also differ.

A DUI charge can get you into a lot of legal trouble. An aggravated DUI conviction will be even more troublesome from that perspective.

It’s important to know the differences between DUI and aggravated DUI charges. You can learn more about them by continuing with this article.

Defining an Aggravated DUI Charge

A person can be found guilty of driving under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration level exceeds a certain threshold. In Arizona, a person with a blood alcohol concentration level over 0.08 is guilty of driving under the influence. For drivers of commercial vehicles, that lowers the threshold to 0.04.

Those thresholds still come into play in aggravated DUI charges. It’s not the amount of alcohol in a person’s body that turns a DUI charge into an aggravated DUI charge. Rather, other factors that emphasize the recklessness of the guilty party are the ones that usually elevate the severity of a particular DUI offense.

Officials can cite multiple factors in aggravated DUI cases. Let’s talk about them in greater detail below.

Being Charged with Driving Under the Influence Multiple Times

First, officials can charge a person with aggravated DUI if they repeatedly commit the offense within a certain amount of time. To be more specific, getting three DUI convictions within eighty-four months would result in an aggravated DUI charge.

Driving Under the Influence with a Canceled, Revoked, or Suspended License

The state of Arizona does not cancel, revoke, or suspend driver’s licenses for no reason. That is only carried out as a form of punishment if the driver was irresponsible or reckless on the road.

When the state takes away a person’s driving privileges, the concerned party must abide by that. Failure to acknowledge that can prove costly. Those who drive under the influence with a canceled, revoked, or suspended driver’s license can receive aggravated DUI.

Refusing a Blood Alcohol Test while Their Vehicle Is Equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device

Once a person is found guilty of committing a DUI violation in Arizona, their vehicle has a certified ignition interlock device installed. The job of the ignition interlock device is to prevent drivers from operating their vehicle while they’re intoxicated.

To use a vehicle equipped with the ignition interlock device, the driver must first blow into it. After that, the device will examine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level exceeds a certain threshold, they cannot use their vehicle.

Notably, a driver may need to blow into the ignition interlock device multiple times while operating their vehicle. That feature is baked into the device’s design so drivers cannot ingest alcohol as soon as they start the car.

The ignition interlock device can limit the driver’s control because it connects directly to the vehicle’s power system, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The presence of the ignition interlock device on your vehicle can also open you up to an aggravated DUI charge. Any DUI violation you commit while an ignition interlock device is in your vehicle will turn into an aggravated DUI charge right away. On top of that, refusing to take a blood-alcohol test when you have that device is grounds for an aggravated DUI charge as well.

Driving Under the Influence while a Person Under Fifteen Years Old Is in the Vehicle

Being careful on the road is expected of all drivers in all situations. Even so, more emphasis is on that whenever you have someone under the age of fifteen inside your vehicle. People under that age are more susceptible to injuries, so you need to be more responsible while driving them around.

If someone is driving under the influence while a person under the age of fifteen is in their vehicle, they will receive an aggravated DUI charge.

Driving the Wrong Way on the Highway while Under the Influence

Lastly, a DUI charge can also be elevated to an aggravated DUI if the driver was spotted going the wrong way on a highway. It’s easy to understand why driving the wrong way is considered an aggravating factor for a DUI charge.

Operating a vehicle in that manner can be incredibly dangerous. The danger level only increases if the driver was also intoxicated.

Is an Aggravated DUI Charge Considered a Felony?

Driving under the influence is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. But what about an aggravated DUI? Is it viewed in the same way?

Arizona law considers aggravated DUI offenses to be more serious than the typical DUI violations. That’s why officials see all aggravated DUI offenses as felonies. Crucially though, they are not all on the same level in terms of severity.

Individuals driving under the influence while a person under the age of fifteen is in their vehicle can receive a class 6 felony. If your aggravated DUI charge stems from the other four causes, then you’re potentially facing a class 4 felony.

Distinguishing between those charges is important. The penalties a person may receive will change depending on whether they are guilty of a class 6 or 4 felony.

The Penalties for a Class 6 Felony Aggravated DUI Charge

Since aggravated DUI offenses are felonies, you will be looking at potential prison time instead of a jail sentence.

The minimum prison sentence for a class 6 felony is six months. The presumptive sentence is set at twelve months, while the maximum is at eighteen months.

In addition to the prison sentence, those found guilty of class 6 felony aggravated DUI will also render community service and undergo alcohol education, screening, and treatment. They will also revoke the guilty party’s driver’s license for one year after the verdict.

Fines are usually also assessed in DUI cases, and the same goes here.

The Penalties for a Class 4 Felony Aggravated DUI Charge

Class 4 felonies are more severe than their class 6 counterparts. That means the prison sentence will be longer.

The shortest prison sentence handed down to someone guilty of committing a class 4 felony is eighteen months. The presumptive sentence is then set at thirty months, while the maximum is thirty-six months in prison.

People who are guilty of committing class 4 felony aggravated DUI will also receive fines,  perform community service, and attend alcohol treatment programs. They will also revoke their driver’s license for at least one year.

The Aggravating Circumstances for Felony Violations

Although there are maximum prison sentences for aggravated felony DUI charges, someone can receive a longer penalty. That can happen if certain aggravating circumstances exist in a particular case.

There all kinds of aggravating factors that can be cited in felony cases.

Someone getting seriously injured because of the guilty party’s actions is an aggravating factor. The same goes for any property damage that stems from the crime.

A person’s intent may also be an aggravating factor in a particular case. If they prove during the trial that the defendant was acting with malice during the crime, their charges may elevate.

A guilty party may also incur more penalties if their actions affected a disabled individual or someone over sixty-five.

The prison sentence gets significantly longer if they note aggravating circumstances in a felony DUI charge.

For class 6 felonies, the maximum prison sentence goes up to twenty-four months. For class 4 felonies, the maximum prison sentence if aggravating circumstances exist goes all the way up to forty-five months.

Another thing to note here is at least two aggravating factors must exist in a specific case for the maximum sentence to increase. Without at least two aggravating factors present, they will follow the original sentencing guidelines.

The Mitigating Circumstances for Felony Violations

Whereas aggravating factors raise the potential maximum sentence for a felony DUI violation, mitigating circumstances do the exact opposite. They can further reduce the minimum prison sentence for a defendant.

They consider the defendant’s state of mind when figuring out what punishment they should receive. Those who are under a substantial amount of duress at the time are likely to receive more leniency.

The court will also look at how the defendant behaved after they were apprehended. Defendants who were more obedient have a better chance of receiving a mitigated sentence.

Whether a defendant could fully appreciate that they were committing a crime also matters. In DUI cases, though, this mitigating factor is unlikely to play a role.

A defendant deemed to have a minor role in the crime may also receive a mitigated sentence. However, that mitigating circumstance is also unlikely to apply in a DUI case.

The age of the defendant could also make a difference.

In a class 6 felony case, the minimum prison sentence drops from six to four months due to mitigating factors. Meanwhile, the minimum sentence for a class 4 felony case goes from eighteen to twelve months.

Also, note that at least two mitigating factors must be present to impact on the case.

How Parole, Commuted Sentences, and Suspended Sentences Affect Aggravated DUI Cases

After receiving an aggravated DUI, you may be hoping that your stint in prison will not be as long as your original sentence. You may be hoping that you can get out after a couple of weeks or maybe one month.

Defendants should know that such a thing cannot happen in many aggravated DUI cases. Although it is possible to be paroled or to have your sentence cut short in an aggravated DUI case, that can only happen if you meet certain conditions.

Only those who were convicted of aggravated DUI due to having a person under fifteen years old in their vehicle and those who received that charge due to the presence of the ignition interlock device can be released from prison early.

If you’re aggravated DUI charge stems from the other causes, then you’re looking at a longer prison stay. You will spend at least four months in prison before you’re eligible for parole or a suspended sentence.

What Is the Difference between Aggravated DUI and Extreme DUI?

Arizona motorists may be confused by some of the terms used in DUI cases. For example, the courts can impose aggravated and extreme DUI charges on residents of the state. You may be wondering if they’re the same thing.

Aggravated and extreme DUI cases are not the same. We’ve already talked at length about aggravated DUI cases so let’s highlight what extreme DUI cases are.

Extreme DUI cases link to the blood alcohol level of the person who committed the crime. If your blood alcohol level is over 0.15 when the authorities pull you over, you can receive an extreme DUI.

Extreme DUI also counts as a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning it carries lighter penalties than an aggravated DUI charge.

Officials must handle an aggravated DUI charge seriously, and you can do that with a skilled and experienced lawyer by your side. Reach out to us at the Schill Law Group, and we will ensure that you receive justice in your aggravated DUI case.

What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?

What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?



What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?

The inherently dangerous act of driving under the influence can never be excused or shrugged off. If the authorities arrest you, the law will punish you accordingly depending on whether you committed a misdemeanor or felony DUI violation.

Knowing the difference between a misdemeanor DUI charge and a felony DUI charge is important. The dangers of impaired driving should already be reason enough for you to sober up before getting behind the wheel. If they are not enough, though, the penalties you could receive should give you more reasons to reconsider.

Let’s talk about the differences between a misdemeanor and a felony DUI charge in this article. The information here should tell you all you need to know about how seriously Arizona takes impaired driving and why you should avoid it.

A Refresher on Drunk Driving in Arizona

Before we get into differentiating the misdemeanor and felony variants of DUI charges, let’s focus first on what drunk driving is. Alcohol intoxication can impact how you perceive your surroundings and how you control your body. Given alcohol’s effects on the body, individuals who are intoxicated while driving pose a greater risk to themselves and the people around them.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent. The authorities can charge drivers with a BAC level that exceeds 0.08 with a DUI violation.

Notably though, that legal limit only applies to drivers of private vehicles who are twenty-one years old or older.

In the state of Arizona, they can still charge drivers of commercial vehicles with a BAC level above 0.04 with DUI. For drivers under the age of twenty-one, any level of alcohol in their bodies will warrant a DUI charge.

When Is a DUI Charge Considered a Misdemeanor Violation?

Most of the time, they will regard a DUI charge as a misdemeanor if it’s your first violation. That is usually the case regardless of whether you were driving a private or commercial vehicle. Drivers under the age of twenty-one who get a DUI are likely to receive a misdemeanor violation.

A first-time DUI charge remains a misdemeanor violation if you did not harm anyone due to your negligence. They would not elevate the charge if you did not have anyone under the age of fifteen inside your vehicle.

What Are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor DUI Violation?

You can expect to receive some significant penalties even if it’s your first misdemeanor DUI charge. Jail time will be among the penalties you face. To be more specific, you may spend time in jail for no less than ten consecutive days.

Arizona residents in violation of the state’s DUI laws for the first time will also pay a fine. The minimum amount you’ll pay is $1,250.

Violators will also render community service and take part in alcohol education, screening, and treatment. In Arizona, individuals found guilty of violating their DUI laws will also get a certified ignition interlock device attached to any vehicles they drive.

Points are additional aspects of DUI penalties. Eight points are added to your record if you commit a DUI violation.

Because you have eight points on your record, you are a candidate to have your driving privileges suspended for up to twelve months. You will need to attend Traffic Survival School to avoid getting your driving privileges suspended.

One more thing to note here is that the penalties apply only to those with a misdemeanor DUI violation. That means your BAC level is at 0.08 percent or higher but below 0.15 percent. If you receive an extreme or super extreme DUI misdemeanor charge, the penalties will be different.

How BAC Level Affects Your Penalties

A subject of significant confusion is whether your BAC level will affect the kind of charge you receive. It’s easy to see why Arizona residents can get confused considering the state uses different terminologies when referring to DUI charges based on BAC levels.

For instance, if your BAC level is over 0.15 percent, you could get an extreme DUI charge. You could also receive a super DUI charge if your BAC level is 0.20 percent or higher.

Those distinctions don’t mean much in terms of whether you’ll get a misdemeanor or a felony. Even if your BAC level qualifies you for a super extreme DUI charge, they will regard it as a misdemeanor.

So, if the BAC level does not change a misdemeanor to a felony, why do extreme and super extreme DUI charges still exist? The distinction is necessary because it affects the penalties assessed.

In the case of an individual hit with an extreme DUI misdemeanor charge for the first time, jail time will be a minimum of 120 days. The individual will also pay a minimum fine of $3,250 and have their license revoked for twelve months. The same penalties regarding alcohol education, screening, and treatment, plus community service and the certified ignition interlock device will remain in effect.

Is a Second DUI Violation Considered a Felony?

Like we noted earlier, you’ll likely receive a misdemeanor violation the first time you’re guilty of impaired driving. But what about the second time you violate Arizona’s DUI laws? Will you be charged with a felony then?

The answer depends on a few factors.

The charge you ultimately receive will depend on whether you caused injury while drunk driving. Causing serious injury typically means that your charge will go up to a felony.

They can also charge you with a more serious crime if you were drunk driving while someone under the age of fifteen was in the vehicle.

Basically, the same criteria that could lead to you receiving a felony for your first DUI violation still apply the second time around. However, there are additional factors they will look at.

Remember, they can suspend your driving privileges if you fail to attend Traffic Survival School. If they suspend your driving privileges, getting caught drunk driving again will result in a felony charge.

If the arresting officer finds that a certified ignition interlock device was attached to your vehicle when you were driving drunk, you can expect to receive a felony. That device is supposed to prevent the vehicle from starting if your BAC level is over the legal limit. The fact that you were drunk driving means that you either tampered with or circumvented the device in some way.

What Are the Penalties for a Second Misdemeanor DUI Violation?

The penalties will be harsher the second time you receive a misdemeanor DUI violation.

Mandatory jail time will be a minimum of ninety days. Meanwhile, your minimum fine will be $3,000. You will also render community service again.

A certified ignition interlock device will again be attached to your vehicle. Repeat violators will also undergo alcohol education, screening, and treatment.

Lastly, they will revoke your driver’s license for twelve months. That will be the case even if you decide to attend Traffic Survival School.

What Is Aggravated DUI?

To put it simply, aggravated DUI is what you’ll receive if your DUI violation goes from being a misdemeanor to a felony. So, what constitutes an aggravated DUI charge in Arizona? The courts will look at a variety of factors when determining that.

First, they’ll consider if your drunk driving led to injury or possibly even cause someone’s death.

Next, the courts will consider if you were driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. A factor they consider is the age of the passengers with you.  If someone under the age of fifteen was in your vehicle while you were driving drunk, you would likely receive a felony.

Also, driving in the wrong direction while drunk is another example of being reckless on the road. You could get a felony because of that.

The courts will also not take kindly to you if you ignored their orders. Driving sober with a revoked license can already get you in plenty of hot water. Driving drunk with a revoked license will lead to a felony charge.

You should also avoid messing with your certified ignition interlock device. Felony charges will be handed down to a drunk driver with certified ignition interlock devices attached to their vehicle.

One more factor that matters in aggravated DUI cases is the number of times you’ve been arrested for this same violation. Arizona law dictates that drivers who are caught driving drunk a third time within a span of eighty-four months will be charged with a felony. Subsequent violations will also lead to a felony.

What Are the Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Charge?

The penalties handed down for aggravated DUI charges are mostly similar to the ones that are attached to misdemeanor cases. Guilty parties will attend alcohol education, screening, and treatment. They will also need to perform community and get a certified ignition interlock device attached to their vehicle.

A person guilty of aggravated DUI will also have their driver’s license revoked for twelve months.

The most significant difference between the penalties handed down for misdemeanor and felony DUI charges is the type of incarceration they will receive.

Individuals guilty of aggravated DUI can count on harsher punishment in that regard. The time they spend incarcerated will be no more than two years. On top of that, they will also serve their sentence in prison instead of jail.

felony dui checkpoint

What Are Other Ways a Person May Be in Violation of Arizona’s DUI Laws?

Arizona residents should know that you don’t need to fail a test to violate the state’s DUI laws. If you’ve been stopped because they suspected you were driving under the influence and you refused the tests, they can revoke your driver’s license for up to twelve months.

Drivers who refuse the test a second time within 84 months may lose their license for a longer period. In that case, the period of revocation could last for two years.

Losing your driver’s license is already a significant inconvenience, but that’s not all you need to worry about. Drivers who refuse the test will also undergo alcohol screening before their driver’s license can be reinstated.

How Can an Attorney Help if You’ve Been Charged with Drunk Driving?

There is no excuse for drunk driving. If you’ve had a few drinks, you have no business getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. Ride with a sober friend, book a ride via a ridesharing app, or hop into a taxi if you want to get home while you’re still intoxicated.

Still, even responsible people can make mistakes from time to time. If you believe that you did make a mistake, but you did not commit a felony, an attorney can help you out.

Your attorney could argue that the police officers were using faulty equipment when they tested your BAC level. An attorney could also argue that you did not know you had consumed an alcoholic drink before you got into your vehicle.

They can use different defenses in DUI cases to prove your innocence. Partner up with a skilled and experienced Arizona attorney if you want justice for your case.

Arizona residents in need of an attorney can approach us at the Schill Law Group for assistance. Contact us today, and we’ll help you fight any erroneous charges against you.

Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws

Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws



Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws

Few things can be as dangerous on the road as a drunk driver. Arizona DUI laws are supposed to keep residents safe from them.

However, not everyone may fully understand those laws, and that can be a real problem. If people are not aware of what constitutes driving under the influence in Arizona, then they may wrongly assume that they are not breaking any laws when they get behind the wheel of their car.

Some drivers may also be unaware of what penalties wait for them if they are driving under the influence. In that case, further education is welcome because a lot of Arizona drivers will decide to sober up knowing how big of a risk they could be taking.

Find out more about the Arizona DUI laws and develop a better understanding of why drunk driving is an awful idea by reading on.

The Statistics Showing Why We Need to Sober Up

Even one death or injury caused by drunk driving is one too many. Sadly, this demonstration of grossly irresponsible behavior can lead to more than a terrible incident.

According to Responsibility.org, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 28.2 percent of total driving deaths in Arizona. Furthermore, 20 percent of under-21 driving-related fatalities in the state are young people who took to the road while they were still experiencing the effects of the alcoholic drinks they consumed.

What’s probably even more concerning is that instances of people driving under the influence in Arizona have increased in recent years.

The same site notes the 10-year change in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 members of the population. They note that for the timeframe going from 2009 to 2018, there was a 15.6 percent increase in those alcohol-influenced driving fatalities.

Even if you only account for the drivers under the age of 21, the increase is still notably increased. For that same period of time, there was a 3.1 percent increase in the number of under 21 alcohol-related driving fatalities per 100,000 members of the population.

Those trends are highly disturbing, and they must be slowed down as soon as possible. Teaching more motorists about what constitutes drunk driving could help in that regard.

DUI laws in AZ

What Qualifies as Driving Under the Influence in Arizona?

There are different levels of driving under the influence in Arizona. They come with different penalties so learning more about them is crucial.


First off, you have DUI cases. Notably, what constitutes a DUI charge can vary depending on why the driver was on the road.

The BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level for drivers of private vehicles cannot be above .08 percent. While you might assume that it takes a while before your blood alcohol concentration reaches that level, that is not necessarily the case.

Per the Arizona Department of Public Safety, even a single 8-ounce beer can cause your BAC level to surpass that threshold. That’s especially true if you are on the lighter side in terms of weight.

The threshold is even lower if you are the driver of a commercial vehicle, i.e., buses, taxis, or other similar modes of transportation. Instead of .08 percent, the BAC threshold for commercial drivers is 04 percent.

As you can imagine, it’s even easier to go past that limit as even a 5-ounce glass of wine could be enough to disqualify you from getting behind the wheel if you’re a commercial vehicle driver.

Individuals under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive if they have had any alcohol at all.

What Are the DUI Penalties in Arizona?

The severity of the penalties after being cited for DUI depends on whether the incident in question represents your first time with such an offense or if you’re a repeat offender.

For First-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service – You will be required to render a certain amount of community service.
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening – Offending drivers will be required to undergo alcohol screening following their arrest. The screening is also necessary if the offending individual wants to reinstate his/her driving privileges.
  • Traffic Survival School – You must attend Traffic Survival School if you want to reclaim your driving privileges.
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device – A certified ignition interlock device keeps your vehicle from starting if your BAC is above a certain level. You will have to blow into it if you want to drive. The device may also ask you to blow into it additional times after you start driving.
  • Loss of Driving Privileges – You will lose your driving privileges right away after being arrested for DUI. Your license could end up suspended anywhere from 90 days up to a year.
  • Jail Time – Behaving irresponsibly can land some drivers in jail. First-time offenders may spend 24 hours in jail or serve a sentence that goes up to 10 days.
  • Fines – A $250 base fine on first-time DUI offenders.

For Second-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privilege – Your driver’s license will be suspended for a year at least.
  • Jail Time – Second-time offenders may be sentenced to a 30-day stay in jail, but that can go up to 90 days.
  • Fines – The base fine climbs to $500 for second-time DUI offenders.

For Third-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges – You won’t be able to drive for a year.
  • Jail Time – Third-time DUI offenders can expect to spend a minimum of four months in jail.
  • Fines – Third-time DUI offenders will pay a $750 base fine.

Extreme DUI

Arizona DUI laws also account for cases of extreme DUI. These are the cases wherein the driver’s BAC level is above 0.15 percent.

Unsurprisingly, penalties are harsher for individuals found guilty of extreme DUI, as the Arizona Department of Transportation shows.

For First-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Jail Time – Your jail sentence is not going to be anything shorter than 30 days. On top of that, you will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence.
  • Fines – People driving with a BAC level over 0.15 percent will pay a fine no smaller than $2,500.

For Repeat Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Jail Time – An additional extreme DUI arrest can lead to you spending at least 120 days in jail.
  • Fines – Along with all the other penalties, repeat extreme DUI offenders must also pay a fine of at least $3,250.

What Is Aggravated DUI?

There is also a violation known as aggravated DUI in the state of Arizona. You can be charged with aggravated DUI if the following conditions apply:

  • You are guilty of a DUI offense while your driver’s license was still suspended, canceled, or revoked.
  • You had two prior DUI charges on your permanent driving record when you were cited for the same violation a third time within a span of 84 months.
  • You had a person under the age of 15 inside the vehicle while you were driving under the influence.
  • You committed a DUI offense while a certified ignition interlock device was in your vehicle.
  • You refuse to submit a blood alcohol content test while a certified ignition interlock device was in your vehicle.

dui penalties

The Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Charge

The penalties you’ll face if the state finds you guilty of aggravated DUI are pretty similar to the ones that accompany other DUI charges. You’ll need to render community service, submit to alcohol screening, attend Traffic Survival School, have a certified ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, and lose your driving privilege.

You’ll also be facing jail time. This time around, your jail sentence could last up to two years.

Can You Be Charged with DUI Even without Driving?

Arizona takes road safety seriously. In addition to their DUI guidelines and penalties, they have also enacted a law that hopes to curtail a DUI offense before it can even begin.

According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, it is illegal for anyone to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle if they are under the intoxicating influence of alcohol.

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that you should remember to steer clear of the driver’s seat if you’ve been drinking.

They can find you guilty of this offense if a police officer sees you behind the wheel of the vehicle while it is running. The headlights of the vehicle being turned on could also spell trouble for you.

The location of the vehicle also matters. If it was in a parking lot while you were resting in the driver’s seat, then you’re probably in the clear. If the vehicle was stopped on the road or perhaps about to enter the road, you may have a hard time arguing your innocence.

This law pertaining to “actual physical control” of the vehicle is one of the trickier ones to argue against. Lawyer up if the state is charging you with this type of violation.

How the Government Is Working to Curb Drunk Driving

In addition to the harsh DUI laws and penalties, the government is also doing other things to help discourage drivers from getting into the driver’s seat while drunk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these measures include establishing sobriety checkpoints and having high-visibility saturation patrols roam the streets at times during which drunk driving is more prevalent.

To further discourage young drivers from taking to the road while drunk, the government is also investing in school-based instructional programs.

What You Can Do to Avoid Drunk Driving

Stopping the epidemic of drunk driving starts with ourselves. By being smarter and more responsible whenever we go out, our roads can become significantly safer.

Listed below are some tips for you to follow if you want to avoid drunk driving.

Bring Extra Cash if You’re Going Out

It’s easy to say that you won’t have an alcohol drink while you’re still at home. The reality, though, is that your mood might change as soon as you reach the restaurant or the bar. At that point, refusing the temptation of having an drink becomes significantly harder.

Training yourself to say no to an alcoholic drink is important, but you should be ready if you cannot resist that temptation.

Err on the side of caution by taking some extra cash with you. If possible, make sure the cash is a little over what you’ll need to pay for a ride home.

You may be hesitant to use your smartphone to pay for anything while you’re intoxicated, so go ahead and hail a taxi and pay with cash.

Make Sure Your Smartphone Is Charged

While we’re on the subject of smartphones, it’s also a good idea to bring yours along whenever you go out. Like we said above, we can never be certain what will happen once we’re outside.

Thanks to your smartphone, you can call up a family member or friend to pick you up if you’ve been drinking. There’s no need to even attempt to drive home while drunk.

Don’t Take Your Car with You if You’re Planning to Have Some Drinks

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid the temptation of driving while drunk is to leave your vehicle at home. With the prevalence of ride-sharing services these days, you don’t need to take your car with you every time you want to go blow off some steam.

Leave the car keys at home, book a ride, and enjoy your night out without endangering yourself or anyone else.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is never acceptable. It puts you and numerous other drivers and passengers in danger. On top of all that, you could quickly find yourself in a legal nightmare if you’re drunk driving.

If you’ve made that mistake, you need to face the charges properly. Allow us at the Schill Law Group to help you get a fair sentence from the court. Reach out to us today to learn about our services.