Shot glass with car keys and handcuffs

Arizona: Not the Best Place to Get a DUI

Arizona is known for its harsh DUI laws. It is considered as the state with the most stringent DUI penalties. The State’s DUI penalties not only haunt you for years; they also put a big dent on your bank account.

Fines, Fines, Fines

Even on your first DUI conviction, expect to pay more than $2,000 of fines. Your DUI conviction comes with a minimum fine of $250, which can go up to $2,500 depending on the circumstances of your arrest. In most cases, the state usually charges a fine of $1,500. A DUI conviction in Arizona automatically means a trip to jail and a trip to Arizona jails can be costly. A first offense will get you 1-10 days of jail time, and you will be required to pay an additional $500 for the prison construction fund as well as another $500 for the state general fund. You’ll also need to pay for your stay in jail, which costs 80 percent of your base DUI fine — costly accommodations indeed. If you get charged with extreme or aggravated DUI, your fines and bills skyrocket. You’ll need to pay an additional $250 for your DUI assessment and your contribution to the prison construction fund and state general fund go up to $1,000 if you’re convicted of extreme DUI and $1,500 each if aggravated.

Reckless Driver Insurance

A DUI conviction makes you a high-risk driver. If you want to continue driving, you’ll need a special permit and SR-22 insurance for your car. If you operate multiple vehicles, you’ll need separate SR-22 insurance for all of the cars you can potentially drive. An SR-22 is insurance reserved for what the state deems as high-risk drivers and they come at a steeper price. It can cost around $1,500 a year — more if you own multiple vehicles. You’ll need to maintain that insurance for five years or until the state deems it safe for you to drive again.

car key hanging from a bottle of beer in the background drunk man

A Breathalyzer for Your Car

Another requirement for you to drive once you get that DUI conviction is installing a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on your car and every car you can potentially drive. These devices have been successful in preventing more than 2.3 million drunken car starts from 2006 to 2017. A BAIID or interlock device prevents your vehicle from starting without a successful Breathalyzer test. This device connects with your car’s ignition system and locks your car if your blood alcohol concentration is over the state limit of 0.08 percent. Installing an interlock device for your vehicle (usually mounted underneath the dashboard) will cost you around $200. These devices need constant maintenance that will set you back $60 to $100 a month. Like your insurance, you will need to maintain your interlock device for as long as the courts decide.

DUI in Arizona is expensive. Fines, insurance, and maintaining an interlock device can be a significant drain on your resources. Save that money by driving responsibly and avoiding that one — or two — for the road.