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Why Are Arizona DUI Laws So Strict?

Armando Nava

Here in Arizona, the justice system can be very strict, especially when it comes to our DUI laws. Because of this, a single mistake on your part – or even a false charge – can have a hugely negative impact on your life. For example, if you have your license taken away from you, you may lose your job because you are unable to get to work. We all know that driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can cause tragic deaths and injuries, and that DUI laws exist to deter drivers from taking that risk. Every benefit of a law must be weighed against its negative consequences, and in order to do that, we need to know whether strict DUI laws have the intended result.

Are Strict DUI Laws Effective?

There has been a noticeable decline in DUI-related deaths over the years. For example, roughly 58 percent of the traffic accident-related deaths back in 1983 involved alcohol, a number that dropped to 31 percent in 2013.

Research has shown that states with more lax DUI laws tend to have higher alcohol-related traffic accident deaths. However, the opposite is not true – states with strict DUI laws, such as Arizona, have average fatality rates. In fact, the state of Arizona has arguably the strictest DUI laws, yet it had the 17th highest DUI fatality rate back in 2013.

It turns out that the DUI fatality rate of an area has more to do with population density than it does with how strict the DUI laws are. In other words, our state’s combination of high-density urban areas and the long highways that separate them creates additional risk that lawmakers have attempted to mitigate with draconian DUI laws.

Arizona DUI Laws

What makes Arizona DUI laws particularly strict? It’s not only the penalties, but also what can be considered grounds for a DUI charge.

  • As a zero tolerance state, you can be charged if your BAC is lower than 0.08 and the officer believes you were impaired.
  • If you’re sitting in your vehicle, not driving, you can be arrested for a DUI. This is because you’re considered to be in control of your vehicle. To avoid this, put the keys out of reach (for example, in your trunk) and rest in the back seat instead of the driver’s seat.
  • Bicycling under the influence can land you with a DUI.

A first-time DUI conviction can result in a mandatory ten-day jail sentence, while a second conviction can result in a 90-day jail term. For many people, these sentences can result in the loss of employment, which can greatly impact their lives. Good legal representation can make a huge difference when it comes to seemingly minor charges. If you’re facing DUI charges in Arizona, contact Nava Law today.

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