What Makes a DUI a Felony in Arizona

While many impaired driving arrests in Arizona result in misdemeanor charges, some people face felony arrest. What are the circumstances that result in felony DUI charges in Arizona?

The charges and punishments for driving under the influence (DUI) become more serious and life-changing for repeat offenders and those who commit aggravated DUI. What is aggravated DUI?

Felony DUI charges in Arizona—aggravated DUI

If you are arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Phoenix, or elsewhere in Arizona, the outcome for conviction is usually a period of time in jail, escalating fines and fees, alcohol screening, education, and treatment, loss of driving privilege and installation of an ignition interlock system.

In some circumstances, such as with a repeat offender, a prosecutor may have the ability to charge you with a felony. A felony is a more serious charge and often leads to time in prison. While there are other instances when you could be charged, these are four primary reasons for being charged with felony DUI in Arizona:

  1. If you are arrested for driving under the influence while your license is already suspended, or your driving privileges are restricted, you can be charged with a felony.
  2. You can be charged with a felony if arrested on a third or fourth DUI charge within seven years.
  3. An individual arrested on DUI or extreme DUI while driving with a person under the age of 15 will be charged with felony.
  4. It is a felony if you are arrested for DUI while you already have an ignition interlock device in your car.

Felony criminal charges are always more serious than a misdemeanor arrest. For some who have been arrested two times for DUI, the felony charge is a frightening surprise. Suddenly you are looking at life-altering consequences. In addition to the alcohol screening, treatment, fines, and fees associated with a misdemeanor offense, you could be incarcerated in prison after which you may lose your driving privilege entirely for a period of time, among other outcomes.

A felony conviction, in addition to earlier misdemeanor DUI convictions, has permanent impacts on your social, economic, and professional life. Many employers perform background checks and routinely screen out those with an arrest record. Some professional licenses may be temporarily or permanently withdrawn for those with a felony conviction, along with the right to own firearms or vote. If you regain your driving privileges, the cost of car insurance may be prohibitively expensive. The damage of a felony conviction lasts far longer than the time spent in prison and the money penalties paid.

The impact of either a misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction is clear. If you are arrested on a DUI in Phoenix, always speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

Speak with a knowledgeable Phoenix DUI attorney today

When you are arrested on an DUI or criminal charge, talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Phoenix as soon as possible. Blackwell Law Office, PLLC has more than ten years of successful experience defending hundreds of people charged under Arizona DUI laws. Call us today at (480) 227-4984 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.