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It would come into play a little bit, because we do not have DUI with an injury or DUI with a death in Arizona. We simply have aggravated assaults, manslaughter, murder charges, or homicide charges, and because of this and because it would fall under general criminal principals, the issue for the jury would not necessarily be whether the person had a blood alcohol level above 0.08 or had certain drugs or medications in their system; the question would become whether the person had been reckless or negligent or whether they had caused the injury intentionally.
Alcohol impairment would involve seeing whether someone was reckless in causing the injury to another person. The level of alcohol, if it was high, could actually indicate recklessness, although if it was a low level of alcohol, the prosecutor may be able to use that low level in addition to other things such as the person saying they were sleepy and claiming they had been up for fifteen hours and had not gotten much sleep the night before, because that would go into the totality of circumstances for the jury to consider whether the person was being reckless when they injured someone else.
What other states call aggravated DUI does not correlate to what we call aggravated DUI in Arizona. In Arizona, aggravated DUI would mean a felony DUI for any of the reasons that would qualify it as an aggravated DUI. In Arizona, we have extreme DUI and what attorneys refer to as super-extreme DUI, which would mean having a blood alcohol level tested at or above a 0.15 which was tested within two hours of driving.
It could also qualify if the person had a blood alcohol level above a 0.20, which was tested within two hours of driving. What we call extreme DUI in Arizona would be referred to as aggravated DUIs in some other jurisdictions, which is why there is sometimes some confusion. People from other states who come to Arizona do not exactly understand this, because an aggravated DUI in Arizona would be considered a felony, whereas an extreme DUI out in Arizona would be a misdemeanor, and no matter how high the person’s blood alcohol content was, it would not change a misdemeanor DUI into a felony DUI.
Yes, the charges would be enhanced. In Arizona, even if it was the person’s first time ever getting pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications, and if there was a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, the driver would end up being charged with aggravated DUI as a class 6 felony.
If that person were to go to trial and got convicted, then they could technically be convicted of a class 6 felony that would stay a class 6 felony, or a class 6 felony that could be reduced down to a misdemeanor on successful completion of probation, or the person might be found guilty of a misdemeanor DUI or that person could simply be found not guilty.
I believe these would be the only ways someone could currently get an aggravated DUI.
The way Arizona law works, if it was the person’s third DUI within seven years regardless of anything else, then that third one could be charged as an aggravated DUI which would be a class 4 felony. The law would not necessarily care about what the prior DUIs were for, and it would not care if there was a regular alcohol DUI, a super-extreme DUI or if there was a medication DUI or even if the prior DUI conviction was an aggravated felony DUI conviction. All they would care about would be whether it was the person’s third DUI within seven years.
Arizona does not really distinguish between an alcohol DUI, a drug DUI and a medication DUI with one exception, which would be that the person was convicted of being impaired to the slightest degree by drugs or medications or if they were convicted of driving with any drug or medication in their system that was not prescribed and/or not being taken as prescribed. In this case, the person’s license would be revoked for one year with no ability to get any sort of restricted license.
If that same person on their first DUI was convicted solely of having alcohol in their system, then their license would be suspended for 90 days and of the 90 days, there would generally be no driving during the first 30 days although the person would be eligible to get a restricted license during the next 60 days so they would be able to drive to and from work, home and school. This means that anyone who was determined to be impaired by their prescription medication would be treated more harshly than someone who was impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol.
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