A common misconception about Arizona DUI law is that one can only be charged with DUI when driving above the “legal limit” of 0.08 BAC. This isn’t true because Arizona is a zero tolerance state; there’s no legal limit for an alcohol DUI.
Arizona DUI laws provide for specific “per se” DUI offenses which create strict criminal liability for being at or above a specific blood alcohol content (“BAC”). The actual effect that the alcohol has on the driver is irrelevant in a per se DUI charge. All that must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that the driver was at, or above, a specific BAC concentration within 2 hours of driving. Working with an experienced Mesa DUI Lawyer is your best course of action.
Commonly referred to as Arizona’s Super Extreme DUI, A.R.S. 28-1382(A)(2) is the most serious misdemeanor DUI allegation because it carries extremely harsh mandatory minimum DUI penalties and consequences. A Super Extreme DUI is charged when a person’s breath or blood test reads at or above 0.20 BAC.
Arizona’s Super Extreme DUI statute explicitly states that it’s unlawful to have an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more within two hours of driving. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol must have been consumed before or while in actual physical control of the motor vehicle.
The two main differences between a “Regular Alcohol DUI” and a “Super Extreme DUI” are as follows: (1) With Super Extreme DUI, the blood alcohol content is specifically alleged to be 0.20 or more; and, (2) there are harsher mandatory minimum penalties and consequences that come with Super Extreme DUI conviction.
The only differences between “Extreme DUI”, under A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1), and “Super Extreme DUI” under A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(2) are their respective threshold allegations of BAC concentration, as well as their corresponding mandatory minimum penalties. Extreme DUI is charged when a person’s blood or breath test reads at or above 0.15, whereas Super Extreme DUI is charged when a person’s blood or breath test reads at 0.20 or above. Logically, when charged with Super Extreme DUI, you’re also charged with Extreme DUI. That’s because if you’re charged with having a BAC at or above 0.20, by default, you’re also charged with being above 0.15.
Almost always, when charged with Super Extreme DUI, you’ll also be charged with the 3 lesser counts of Alcohol DUI: A.R.S. § 28-1382 (A)(1): driving with a BAC of 0.15 or more (Extreme DUI); A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(2): driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more (Regular Per Se DUI); and, A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(1): DUI to the slightest degree (Regular DUI), which is Arizona’s zero tolerance DUI law.
In Defending against a Super Extreme DUI charge, there are a multitude of defenses and negotiation tactics that can be used by a skilled and experienced DUI attorney. The facts of the case, charged counts, criminal history of Defendant, underlying investigation, alcohol testing methods, the court, judge, and prosecutor’s office, can all play into the legal strategy of defending against a Super Extreme DUI.
In any DUI charge, including Super Extreme DUI, it’s important to look for investigation errors, alcohol testing errors, holes in the State’s case, and any constitutional violations that might warrant a complete dismissal of all charges. A complete dismissal is the best possible outcome, and as such, should always be explored when defending against a Super Extreme DUI.
Depending on the facts of your specific Super Extreme DUI case, there can be benefits of either going to trial or seeking a plea agreement with reduced charges and penalties. For instance, there can be huge benefits in negotiation down to an extreme or regular dui since they carry significantly less mandatory minimum penalties. While rare in Super Extreme DUI cases, if there are sufficient legal issues raised or discovered, a dui defense attorney could even negotiate for a reckless driving or outright dismissal.
Ultimately, it’s up to the Defendant on whether or not to accept any plea agreement negotiated by the criminal defense lawyer, or in the alternative, have their attorney fight at trial for lesser charges or a complete acquittal.
Contact us today to learn more about our DUI defense experience.