In Arizona, you may be unclear about the different permissible blood alcohol levels, how they are calculated, and their meaning. If you live in a zero-tolerance state like Arizona, knowing how to calculate your blood alcohol content (BAC) might save you from hefty charges.
For drivers in Arizona, a BAC of 0.08% or greater is a driving under the influence (DUI) offense, regardless of how sober or unimpaired they may feel. The legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles is far lower, set at less than 0.04%. We further explain in-depth the legal blood alcohol levels in Phoenix, AZ.
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the gold standard for medical and legal applications in the United States. A BAC of 1.0% indicates that there is one gram of alcohol in every 100 milliliters of your blood. The factors that affect a person’s BAC include:
- Alcoholic beverages consumed
- Amount of alcoholic beverage consumed
- Your body weight
- Your biological sex
- Drugs or medications consumed during or before drinking
- Amount of food consumed
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the alcohol percentage in the driver’s blood. It’s the way law enforcement assesses the intoxication level.
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Testing Blood Alcohol Levels in Phoenix
Arizona law enforcement uses two methods to determine blood alcohol concentration levels: a breath test and a blood test.
A breathalyzer is a quick and easy method to test a driver’s BAC. It is used by police officers in Phoenix and throughout Arizona to detect drunk drivers. Mobile breathalyzers have a high margin of error and are not accepted in legal proceedings. Blood samples are highly accurate for BAC testing. They are more labor intensive and require laboratory testing.
Whether the drunk driver receives criminal charges and gets convicted, you can still hold them liable for your damages and pursue compensation in a civil court. Our personal injury lawyers can use either of these blood alcohol tests as evidence for the drunk driver’s liability.
What Are the Legal Blood Alcohol Levels in Arizona?
The 0.08% level is Arizona’s threshold for charging DUI cases. But the state also has “Extreme DUI” and “Super Extreme DUI,” which are more severe forms of driving under the influence.
Last but not least, there is an issue with drunk driving by minors in Phoenix and other areas of Arizona. Underage drivers with any amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in their systems are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle in Arizona.
The official legal blood alcohol content in Arizona is:
- Standard DUI: 0.08% to 0.149%
- Extreme DUI: 0.15% to 0.199%
- Super Extreme DUI: 0.20% or higher
- Underage DUI: 0.01% or higher
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Types of DUIs in Phoenix, Arizona
Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and other circumstances, you might be charged with one of three categories of DUI in Arizona.
In Arizona, you may face up to 10 days in jail and a $1,500 fine for a first-time DUI offense. You might also be subject to screening and counseling, paying jail fees, and an $80 monitoring fee.
The driver’s license is revoked for 90 days, and offenders must use an ignition interlock device for a year. An additional 90 days in jail is the penalty for a second conviction of ordinary DUI in Arizona with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.15%.
After six days, you may apply for home detention. A $3,500 fine, plus the expenses of jail time or home detention, and an $80 monitoring charge are also imposed. A 12-month need to use an ignition interlock device and a 90-day license suspension are the penalties for DWI offenders.
If this is your first violation, you might face up to 30 days in jail with the possibility of home detention. You must pay $2,780 in penalties, jail/home detention fees, and a monitoring cost of $80. Going through a screening process is mandatory, then comes participation in therapy.
Along with these penalties are a 12-month mandatory use of the ignition interlock device and a 90-day license suspension. The consequences for a second Extreme DUI conviction are more severe, including a minimum jail term of 120 days. The offender must additionally pay a monitoring charge of $3,740 per month in addition to the expense of jail time.
Super Extreme DUI
In Arizona, a Super Extreme DUI is defined as a BAC reading of 0.20% or higher with a minimum jail term of 45 days. The total amount of penalties and costs you must pay amounts to around $3,240.
Your license will be revoked for 90 days, and you’ll have to use an ignition interlock device for another 18 months.
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Is Arizona a Zero-Tolerance State?
Although most people know that 0.08% BAC is the limit, it’s important to remember that a police officer may still make an arrest even if your BAC is below the legal limit. However, it may be inferred that you weren’t under the influence of alcohol if your BAC is 0.05% or under.
There is no room for error in driving under the influence for minors. Minors should not have any BAC level, period. Even if the minor’s BAC is below the state’s legal limit, they will still be prosecuted for driving under the influence if found drinking and driving.
Commercial Drivers Have a Different BAC Legal Limit
Commercial drivers are subject to stricter limits on their blood alcohol content. Their major reason is the nature of their jobs and the number of hours they spend behind the wheel. A commercial driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is just 0.04%, which is half the limit for regular drivers.
Talk to an Arizona Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one is hurt in an accident, our team of drunk driving accident lawyers is here to help. Zanes Law Injury Lawyers are an experienced Phoenix personal injury firm. We research, negotiate, and win for you—everything from A to Z.
You have the right to hold a driver liable for your injuries and damages if they crashed into you while having an illegal blood alchol level in Phoenix. Contact us to discuss your case today.