These differ from felony DUIs. They are misdemeanors; but because of the high BAC level, they are more severe than a regular DUI. There is increased jail time, increased fines and increased requirements for interlock devices. The extreme DUI is the 0.15 BAC or above, and the super extreme is the 0.20 or above. When you hit those levels, all of the penalties increase. Now, when we are talking about felony DUIs, there are a different set of factors that would cause a misdemeanor to turn into a felony. The felonies are even more severe. They require a license revocation and can be very devastating because a felony conviction can preclude you from owning a firearm and preclude you from voting, along with jeopardizing other civil rights.
There are several ways that felony DUIs are triggered. For example, if someone already has a misdemeanor DUI and is pulled over for another, then the misdemeanor gets stepped up to an aggravated DUI and becomes a felony. Or if this is your third, fourth or more DUI, then that will become aggravated. So if you’ve got two DUIs and you get a third one, when they find out about those other two DUIs, they are going to charge that third DUI as an aggravated DUI with a lookback period of 84 months. So if you’ve had two or more prior DUIs in the last 84 months, the third DUI will become aggravated.
Another way that you can get an aggravated DUI is if you are required to have an interlock device and are pulled over for DUI in a vehicle without one. Still another way is if you are pulled over for DUI and are driving on a suspended license, perhaps for unpaid parking tickets, no insurance or because you have a prior DUI and aren’t supposed to even be driving a car, then that’s an aggravated DUI. Another factor is if you’ve got children in the car under the age of 15 and are pulled over for what otherwise would have been an ordinary misdemeanor DUI, the DUI will be aggravated because there are children in the car. So really any one of those situations will turn an ordinary misdemeanor DUI, whether it was a regular DUI, an extreme DUI or super extreme DUI, into a felony DUI.
What Happens When Someone Is Arrested And Charged With A DUI In Arizona?
If it’s a first time DUI without extraordinary circumstances, there are really two things that can happen. If the person is arrested, taken down to the station and agrees to give a blood or breath sample, that’s going to have a better outcome for their license at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). So what happens is the officer says, “You have the right to give a sample or to refuse a sample.” If you agree to give a sample, you will get a piece of paper that’s called an Admin Per Se. This document will say that your license is automatically suspended for 90 days. The person hasn’t been convicted yet; but because driving is a privilege and not a right, it’s going to automatically suspend their license for 90 days, and that’s pretty much going to happen with the MVD, unless this individual requests a hearing and tries to challenge that suspension.
One of the most common ways that people will resolve their issues by this route is to agree to a suspension; that 90 days gets broken into a 30-day full suspension and then a 60-day restricted license suspension. The individual can drive to work, to school and to doctor’s appointments for those remaining 60 days, so that means the suspension was only for the first 30 days. This is called a Stipulation. The burden of proof for this outcome at the MVD is much lower than a criminal case, and sometimes these hearings can be difficult to win, but they are something to be considered and generally require an attorney to handle successfully.
The other way that things can go down, when you are arrested, is they can take you down to the station, and you can refuse to do the tests. Whether you are under the influence or not, if you refuse that test, the simple fact that it’s been refused is going to trigger the MVD to automatically suspend your license for one year. This involves the concept of Implied Consent, which means that by driving on the roadways in Arizona, it’s implied that you agree to consent to give a sample, whether it’s a breath sample or a blood sample. By refusing then at that point to actually give that sample, the MVD will penalize you automatically and suspend your license for one year.
You can have a hearing to challenge that, which would likely be better with an attorney by your side. Maybe the officer believed that you were refusing, but you really weren’t, and there are various factors that we can consider as to whether or not there was an actual refusal. What generally ends up happening in most cases, when somebody refuses, is the police will go to a judge, get a warrant and take the blood anyway. So the refusal doesn’t help you at all; it just automatically triggers the one-year suspension, and the police get the sample regardless. It’s generally not advisable to refuse a blood or breath test unless there are extenuating circumstances.
For more information on Extreme & Super Extreme DUI Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 362-7874 today.