Charges of driving under the influence can vary in severity. Sometimes there are factors present that make a DUI more serious. These are aggravating factors, and if one or more are present upon arrest, you may face charges of aggravated DUI.
In Arizona, a DUI is usually a misdemeanor. However, aggravated DUI is a felony, meaning that the penalties are much harsher.
What are the aggravating factors?
Multiple DUIs are aggravating factors. It is a class 4 felony to commit two or more DUIs within 84 months, which equates to seven years. If you have an ignition interlock device installed in your car because of a prior DUI, it requires you to submit to breath tests before starting the ignition and periodically while the vehicle is in operation. Refusing to submit to one of these tests is an aggravating factor, and testing positive while driving is a class 4 felony.
Driving without a license is a serious charge on its own, but committing a DUI during a license suspension or revocation is a class 4 felony. It is a class 6 felony to commit a DUI while a child under the age of 15 is in the vehicle.
What are the possible penalties?
Aggravated DUI carries with it minimum mandatory penalties. For a class 6 felony, they include license revocation with a possible option to apply for a restricted license, an ignition interlock device installed for 12 months and 12 months of counseling, in addition to fines and incarceration for up to two years. The minimum mandatory penalties for a class 4 felony include license revocation for three years, IID installation for at least 24 months, four months in prison and at least $4,000 in fines.
However, those are the minimum requirements. Both class 4 and class 6 misdemeanors carry a maximum fine of $150,000, plus an 83% surcharge. Maximum prison sentences for a class 4 felony can extend to almost four years.