Although the legal limit in Arizona is .08%, many people are surprised to learn that they can be arrested, charged and prosecuted for a DUI even if their alcohol concentration is less than that amount. This is because under Arizona State Statute 28-1381A1, it is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle while "impaired to the slightest degree" by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. This operates to make Arizona one of the toughest states in the country concerning DUI enforcement.
Measuring "Impaired to the Slightest Degree"
People who are sighted for DUI often notice and question why there are several separate DUI charges on their Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint. The first charge listed is usually "Impaired to the Slightest Degree." Depending on your alcohol concentration, this can be followed by allegations of "DUI Above a .08%," Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI. If the arresting officer suspects illegal drug use, you can also be cited for Driving with an Illegal Drug or metabolite in Your System.
There are different types of evidence an officer can utilize to allege a DUI Impaired to the Slightest Degree charge in Arizona. This includes:
- Your Driving Behavior - Officers will notate any alleged driving infractions such as speeding, weaving, failing to stop for a stop sign or red light, driving to slow, etc as evidence that you may be impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Physical Appearance - Officers throughout Arizona are trained to look for signs of alcohol consumption when conducting a DUI investigation. This may include, but is not limited to slurred speech, blood shot and watery eyes, a flushed face and the odor of an intoxicating beverage. Of course, it is not illegal to drink and drive. However, it is against the law to operate a vehicle while impaired.
- Field Sobriety Tests - If officers suspect impairment during their initial contact with a driver, they will often ask the person to step out of their vehicle and participate in Field Sobriety testing. The most commonly employed field tests are Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (the "eye test"), Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand. The field tests are designed to have you perform mental and physical tests simultaneously. If you make mistakes while performing the tests, officers will treat the errors as indicators of alcohol impairment.
- Statements - Police will routinely ask if you've been drinking, what you've consumed, and whether you feel impaired during a DUI investigation. If your responses are incriminating, they will be used as evidence against you.
Attorney for "Impaired to the Slightest Degree" Charge
Call (480) 833-8613 for Immediate Assistance
A DUI charge can have devastating effects on your driver's license, job, financial security and freedom. After being arrested for DUI in Tempe, Scottsdale or the greater Phoenix area, you should immediately contact an experienced attorney who can defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for you. Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best results possible.