DUI Jail Time

Experienced Phoenix DUI attorney provides an overview of DUI jail time and mandatory sentencing guidelines for DUI convictions in Arizona. 

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In my years as a police officer and certainly now as a lawyer who represents a vast number of DUI clients, one of the things I’m often asked is, am I going to jail for DUI? The short answer to that is yes, there is a mandatory sentencing statute in the state of Arizona that you have to serve some time in jail. Don’t let my yes answer scare you, because there’s a range of things, and I’ll give you an example here. 28-1381(A) of the Arizona revised statute says the minimum sentencing guidelines that the judges must comply with a ten-day jail sentence, but nine days can be suspended after completion of the court-ordered screening and alcohol process. That’s to the discretion of the judge. After that, then the judge can suspend nine days.

That means that you’d have to serve one day in jail. Now, how does that one day in jail look? Some of that is left up to the discretion of the court. If you were arrested for driving under the influence at nine o’clock in the morning, and they booked you into 4th Avenue Jail or Madison Downtown, or you were transferred to Lower Buckeye, and you stayed there for eight hours until your detox, could that eight hours count as your day in jail? Sure, if the judge writes the order that way. Can the judge write an order that says you spend 24 hours in jail? Yes, I’ve seen it happen both ways, depending on which court it comes through, depending on the judge that you’re in front of, but that mandatory one day in jail, it’s a part of the mandatory sentencing requirements, so the chances are, you’re going to spend at least that day in jail.

The length of DUI jail time increases with the number times that you’ve been arrested for DUI, and the level of your blood alcohol content. If it’s extreme DUI, the number of days go up. They can go up to as high as 180 days, 90 days of which must be consecutive. That’s for a second offense under the super extreme DUI. That’s the 0.20 or higher, so you could end up in jail for up to six months, or it could be that eight hours. That eight hours could’ve been completed if you were sitting in jail detoxing, so by the next time you come back to court, you won’t have to get remanded back into custody, but again, it’s a case-by-case scenario. The short answer to it is, yes, there are mandatory sentencing requirements that require you to spend at least one day in jail up to 180 days in jail.

You’d want to sit down and talk with your attorney about that, the specifics of the case, to determine if more DUI jail time will be required if you’ve already been booked. If you weren’t booked, you still have that mandatory sentencing in front of you, but your lawyer, would go and argue those points before the court to try to ensure that you got the minimum amount of time that could be sentenced to you. You’d want to discuss the specifics with your lawyer.

Were you pulled over for DUI in Arizona and have questions about DUI jail time and whether you will be required to serve a mandatory sentence if convicted? Contact our skilled Phoenix DUI lawyers for a free confidential consultation. Let us fight to protect your rights and keep you out of jail.