Misdemeanor DUI 2nd Offense

Arizona's already strict DUI penalties grow increasingly harsher for a second DUI offense. Longer jail sentences, higher fines, and growing difficulties with auto insurance and employment can seem like severe punishments for two prior DUI convictions within 7 years. A good lawyer can help alleviate some of your penalties, and get your normal life back on track.

If you are arrested on a second offense DUI, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible after arrest. Cliff Hill is an experienced DUI lawyer who knows how to both build the best defense and find the weaknesses in the law enforcement's case that can result in reduced or dismissed charges.

Second Offense DUI, Alcohol

A second offense DUI is a serious offense, and the resulting harsh penalties can seriously alter your life. Most prosecutors in Arizona are stringent about enforcing these penalties.

You can face charges for a second offense DUI if you:

  1. Received one DUI charge in the last 7 years; and
  2. You are driving with a BAC above 0.08%; or
  3. You are driving under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.

(A.R.S. 28-1381- A.R.S. 28-1382)

If you are under 21, you can be charged with a DUI for any BAC level above 0.00%.

Second Offense DUI, Drugs

Even with a prescription for pharmaceutical drugs, you can be charged with a DUI. If law enforcement believes you to be impaired in any manner as a result of legal or illegal drugs, you can be charged with a DUI.

If you have a medical marijuana card, you must show active levels of THC to be charged with a DUI. Carboxy levels of THC, trace amounts that remain in your system after you ingest marijuana, should not count against you unless you show driving impairment.

They will instead follow the 12-step “Drug Recognition Expert” evaluation that includes:

  1. Breath Alcohol Test
  2. Interview of the Arresting Officer
  3. Preliminary Examination and First Pulse
  4. Eye Examination
  5. Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests
  6. Vital Signs and Second Pulse
  7. Dark Room Examinations
  8. Examination for Muscle Tone
  9. Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse
  10. Subject's Statements and Other Observations
  11. Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator
  12. Toxicological Examination

Extreme and Super Extreme DUI

A DUI charge is upgraded to an “Extreme DUI” if you drive with a blood alcohol content level is 0.150% or above. It is upgraded to “Super Extreme” if you drive with a BAC of 0.200% or above.

Both of these charges result in increased penalties

Drug and Blood-Alcohol Content Levels

In Arizona, the legal BAC is 0.08%. It is illegal to have any illicit drugs in your system, and law enforcement may request a blood, breath , or urine test if they believe you to be impaired. You can still be charged with a DUI for a BAC under 0.08% if law enforcement believes you to be impaired to the slightest degree.

Penalties for a 2nd Offense DUI

A second offense DUI can result in a minimum of 90 days of jail time, but it is common to serve 60 days and substitute a combination of counseling and alcohol classes for the rest of the penalty. The maximum imprisonment period for a second offense DUI is six months. Second offenders are also required to complete community service.

Judges can also allow for in-home detention under certain circumstances. You will be required to wear an ankle GPS device and complete random breathalyzer tests

You will also have your license revoked for 12 months.

In addition, an ignition interlock device installed in your car for a minimum of one year after your license is restored to you.

Mandatory fines and fees for a second offense DUI can be significant, and increase with jail time, alcohol classes and counseling, and costs of IIE devices.

If you are charged with an extreme DUI, you will face a minimum of 120 days of imprisonment.

If you are charged with a super extreme DUI, you will face a minimum of 180 days of imprisonment.

To count as a second offense DUI you must have been convicted with a prior DUI in the last 7 years, or have another pending DUI charge.

What to do if you are stopped for a DUI

Police must find probable cause to arrest and charge you with a DUI. You have rights. Everything you say and do can and will be used against you. You do not need to agree to questioning or car searches. You also do not need to consent to field sobriety tests like the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, or an eye test.

You will be required to take a blood, urine, or breath test if one is requested by a police officer. Under implied consent laws, registering for a driver's license means you have already agreed to take this test if requested. You must take this test within two hours of driving for accurate results. 

Refusing to take a blood, urine, or breath test can result in suspension of your driver's license and the police can obtain a warrant and draw you blood anyway. If you are refusing for a second time, you can have your license suspended for up to two years. You do not have a choice in which type of test (blood, urine or breath) law enforcement requests from you.

Contact Cliff Hill as soon as possible after your arrest. Not understanding your rights, or not being aware of possible law enforcement mistakes can hurt your case. Problems that can arise with law enforcement mistakes include: unlawful traffic stop, invalid Field Sobriety Test, insufficient probable cause for arrest, suspect blood/breath test results, or lack of proof of actual physical control of the vehicle.


There are many potential defense to DUI charges that Cliff Hill can use to get charges against you lessened or dropped. These include:

No reasonable suspicion: If law enforcement did not have enough evidence to pull you over you cannot legally be stopped.

No probable cause for arrest:  If the police are without sufficient probable cause for arrest any evidence collected can be suppressed and not used against you.

Illegal searches: If law enforcement illegally searches your vehicle or person the evidence can be thrown out.

Faulty tests: The breath test and blood test can have reliability issues.  If you are not administered a urine, blood, or breath sample test within two hours of driving, or if the field sobriety tests were not administered properly the evidence can be thrown out.

Reasonable Doubt:  The jury could be presented with reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.

A second DUI offense can have serious consequences. Contact Cliff Hill today to learn more about your options.

Law Office of Cliff L. Hill, PLLC

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