What are the Aggravated DUI penalties in Arizona?

by | Nov 26, 2014 | Articles


It’s a scary question for someone charged with DUI, especially if the offense is a felony DUI or Aggravated DUI as it’s called in Arizona. Aggravated DUI penalties in Arizona are incredibly harsh. And the range of penalties increase depending on how many prior felonies you have. There are four types of Aggravated DUIs-one is a class 6 felony and the rest are class 4 felonies. They are:

  1. A charge alleging a DUI while a child under 15 years-old was in the car (a class 6 felony);
  2. A charge alleging 2 or more prior DUIs within 7 years (a class 4 felony);
  3. A charge alleging a DUI while your license was suspended or revoked (a class 4 felony); and
  4. A charge alleging a DUI while you had an ignition interlock device (a class 4 felony).

Let’s begin with the absolute maximums for an Aggravated DUI offense and then we’ll get into the more common consequences of felony DUI.

What are the maximum penalties for an Aggravated DUI?

If you have no prior felony offenses, the maximum penalty for a class 6 felony is 2 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections (prison). Without priors, a class 4 felony carries a maximum incarceration term of 3.75 years in prison. The maximum fine for both class 6 and class 4 felonies is $150,000 plus surcharge (currently 83%).

Incarceration time ramps up drastically if you have prior felony convictions. For example, if you one prior felony that’s allegeable (doesn’t have to be a DUI felony), then the maximum punishment is 7.5 years. And if you have two or more prior felony convictions, the maximum penalty is a whopping 15 years! If convicted, sentences can be anywhere between the mandatory minimum to the maximum. Because penalties for Aggravated DUI in Arizona are so harsh, most sentences for first time felony offenses hover around the minimums unless there are egregious facts or circumstances but that can change depending on your judge. Those are very case specific factors and experienced counsel can guide you through that analysis.

But that analysis is different if you have prior felony convictions. Penalties are much harsher. With prior felonies, sentences usually hover around the presumptive terms, which are 2.5 years, 4.5 years, and 10 years respective of how many prior felonies are alleged or proven after trial. Probation is the minimum punishment for all Aggravated DUI convictions in Arizona but there are specific mandatory minimum punishments that accompany probation.

What are the mandatory minimum penalties for an Aggravated DUI?

Aggravated DUI, a class 4 felony
Prison Time Fines Counseling Ignition Interlock License Suspension
4 months prison $750 + 83% surcharge & $1,500 prison construction fund & $1,500 public safety equipment fund & $250 DUI assessment fee Required (hours determined by adult probation department) Required for at least 24 months 3 years revocation
Aggravated DUI, a class 6 felony
Jail Time Fines Counseling Ignition Interlock License Suspension
Same as a class 1 misdemeanor Same as a class 1 misdemeanor Required for at least 12 months Required for at least 12 months Revocation (but may apply for restricted license)

Also, the court can order a term of community service in addition to the penalties listed above. For felony DUIs in Arizona, you will likely be placed on felony probation. This means that you’ll also likely have a monthly probation fee (currently $65 /per month) and have to check in with probation monthly.

What are the collateral consequences of an Aggravated DUI?

There are other penalties not listed here but can be just as devastating. First, there are the MVD consequences to your driving privileges. A DUI on your driving record causes your insurance rates to spike. Second, there are the incidental consequences that can affect employment, child custody, immigration, and the emotional toll of a conviction on your record. But more significantly, an Aggravated DUI is a felony on your record that is forever allegeable as a future prior. These consequences are real and shouldn’t be ignored when evaluating your case and seeking the best resolution for you

Is there any way to reduce the mandatory minimums?

There are many factors that can affect the sentence. First, hire good counsel to attack the case. Aggravated DUIs are not as rock solid as the government wants you to believe. Through skillful negotiation and litigation, an attorney may be able to negotiate a more lenient sentence short of trial by securing a plea to an offense different than Aggravated DUI. And, of course, you can avoid the mandatory minimums if you win at trial.

How do I avoid of the mandatory minimum Aggravated DUI penalties?

If you’re convicted of the charge either through trial or a plea agreement, you can’t. No matter how bad the judge feels for you, the legislature took that power away from the courts in Arizona. A court should be able to factor in the appropriate consequences for each individual person because no two Aggravated DUIs or people are the same. That said, if you win at trial or your case is dismissed or you plea to something other than an Aggravated DUI, none of the above mandatory minimum penalties apply. Let me repeat it again: having qualified legal counsel who can assist you is critical. Even if you have multiple priors, a skillful defense can make all the difference. There’s no substitute for experience and hard work to obtain better outcomes in a DUI case.

Give us a call today. We can help if you’ve been charged with an Aggravated DUI in Arizona.

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