A third offense regular driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Arizona is any DUI where the blood alcohol level is .149 or less (or DUI drugs) and it is the third offense within seven years. The term is actually a misnomer because technically, a third offense in seven years is charged as a first offense felony (an aggravated DUI) in which the mandatory minimum punishment is four months in prison. Sometimes, the city court will decide not to charge the crime of third offense DUI as a felony, but rather as a misdemeanor. If the city court alleges the two prior convictions, they will want 180 days of jail time on the third conviction.
Watch this short video on the 3rd Offense DUI Penalties in Arizona:
Typically, the jail time can be work release (12 hours in jail per day, 12 hours out per day) for five days a week as the individual goes to work. The problem with this is that the jail costs will run up to $14,500 for 180 days, plus a $3,500 fine! In addition, the individual will lose their license for well over a year and be required to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for over a year (at a cost of $1,200)!
The reason the city court will charge the DUI as a third offense rather than routing it to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a felony DUI charge is because there is usually a proof problem or an issue with one of the prior DUI convictions. For example, if an individual has a DUI in Arizona and one in another state, the Arizona court does not know if they can get an accurate prior conviction packet from the other state.
Additionally, if the judge in the prior DUI case didn’t properly read the guilty plea proceeding advisement, or the individual wasn’t told they could have an attorney which was waived in writing, there can be some serious flaws in the case. The city court would then have to fly someone from the other state in order to testify that a defendant has a valid prior conviction. As you can see, the whole process of including prior DUI convictions can become problematic for a city court. Therefore, a city court will try to charge it to a third offense DUI to see if they can get someone to plead guilty and serve 180 days in jail.
If you or someone you know has a third DUI arrest you need to call our offices immediately. Our team is highly experienced and can assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome for your case. To get a Free Case Consultation, please call or email our offices. We are available 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808.
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