Everything You Need To Know About Felony DUI in Arizona

Felony DUI or Aggravated DUI is a serious offense. Compared to Misdemeanor violations, the consequences are much harsher, with the potential for much longer jail / prison terms, much more costly fines and fees, as well as losing certain rights such as voting and firearm ownership. There can be a huge impact to one’s employment, career, and housing options. Being charged with a Felony DUI can be overwhelming, but having someone who is experienced, and is not only specialized but focused on DUI Defense Representation, is tremendously important in helping you understand the law, and achieve a beneficial outcome.

Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences under Arizona Laws

Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offenses, and carry much harsher penalties, fines, and other forms of punishment.

In the state of Arizona, Felonies are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 under Arizona law. Penalties and sentences for each class of Felony crime are given below:

Class 1 Felonies

A Class 1 Felony is the most serious crime in the state of Arizona. First and second-degree murder falls under Class 1 felony. Punishments include death or life imprisonment in case of first-degree murder or 10 to 25 years imprisonment for second-degree murder.

Class 2 Felonies

Class 2 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 5 years. The aggravated term is 12.5 years. Armed Robbery, Sexual Assault, and Arson are considered Class 2 Felony crimes.

Class 3 Felonies

Class 3 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 3.5 years. The aggravated term is 8 years and 9 months. Anyone found in possession of more than 4 pounds of marijuana is charged with a class 3 felony in Arizona. Cultivating marijuana in Arizona also falls under this category of crime.

Class 4 Felonies

Class 4 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 2.5 years. The aggravated term is 3 years and 9 months. Forgery, Kidnapping, and Robbery fall under Class 4 felonies.

Class 5 Felonies

A Class 5 felony charge carries a presumptive term of 2 years. The aggravated term is 2.5 years in prison. Aggravated Domestic Violence, Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation, and Rioting, fall under this category of crime.

Class 6 Felonies

The least serious Felonies are considered Class 6 Felony crimes under Arizona law. Class 6 Felony crimes carry a presumptive term of 1 year in prison, whereas the aggravated term is 2 years. In some cases, the judge may designate the class 6 felony conviction as a Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction, so the Defendant is sentenced accordingly.

In more serious felony cases, the judge may sentence a person convicted of a Felony to pay a fine of up to $150,000 plus surcharges. 

The Arizona Criminal Statute of Limitations defines the time period in which a criminal prosecution against the defendant must be filed by the prosecuting agency. Most serious Felony cases allow for a criminal case to be filed upwards of a few years after a crime has occurred, and in some cases, there is no deadline to file a case, allowing the prosecutor to file a case at any time. Whether you are facing a Class 1 Felony crime or a Class 6 Felony crime in Arizona, it is important that you get in touch with an Arizona Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome and may even have your case dismissed, or reduced to a Misdemeanor conviction instead of a Felony conviction.

What Are the Differences between Felony and Misdemeanor DUI Charges?

Interviewer: What’s the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony DUI charge?

Brian Sloan: A person will be charged with a DUI if they are driving or in Actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, prescription medications, and/or a vapor-releasing substance, while impaired to the slightest degree.  A person can also be charged with a DUI if they are driving or in Actual Physical Control of a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level above a prescribed limit (blood-alcohol level above a .08, blood-alcohol level above a .15, or blood-alcohol level above a .20), or having any drug or medication in their system that was not prescribed and/or not being taken as prescribed.

The default charge would be a Misdemeanor offense.

What can raise the DUI charge to a Felony Aggravated DUI charge would be if the person’s license to drive was suspended, canceled, revoked, refused, or restricted by reason of being previously suspected of a DUI; or it is their third DUI within seven years; or they have a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle; or they were required to have an ignition interlock device at the time; or if they were driving the wrong way on the roadway.

Felony DUI Charges Can Include Having a Minor Passenger in the Car

What a person is suspected of a DUI, while having a child under age of 15 in the vehicle, even if they have never been in trouble before the life, they will likely face a Class 6 Felony Aggravated DUI charge.

When a person is suspected of a DUI, while their license is suspended, canceled, revoked, refused, or restricted; or when it is their third DUI within seven years; or if they were ordered to have an ignition interlock device; or if they drove the wrong way on the roadway; the case will likely be charged as a Class 4 Felony Aggravated DUI

Penalties For A Felony Third-Offense Aggravated DUI In Arizona

An Aggravated DUI is defined by A.R.S. 28-1383 and is considered a Felony DUI charge. A First-Offense Aggravated DUI is a Felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence of at least 4 months in prison. A Second Offense Aggravated DUI charge in Arizona carries even harsher penalties, from 2.25 years, up to a maximum of 7.5 years in prison.

A DUI will be charged as an Aggravated Felony DUI if it occurs within 7 years of two previous DUI offenses, or any DUI in which your driver’s license was suspended, revoked, canceled, refused, or restricted due to a previous DUI arrest. In some cases, people get charged with a Felony Aggravated DUI when they were driving under the influence while their license was suspended or canceled, simply for not paying car insurance, or forgetting to resolve a traffic ticket. 

What is a Third-Offense Felony DUI?

A Third-Offense Felony DUI means you have two prior Felony convictions. They don’t necessarily have to be for Aggravated DUI. They can be for anything, as long as it is within the legal timeframe. It could be a prior Felony for Possession of Marijuana or it could even be a prior Felony for Theft.  Even if the offender was never sentenced to any jail sentence as a result of the prior Felonies, a third-offense Aggravated Felony DUI will carry a mandatory prison sentence, with the starting point being 10 years in prison.

A Third-Offense Aggravated DUI in Arizona carries harsher penalties than a first and second offense Aggravated Felony DUI. Similar to the penalties of a First-Offense Aggravated DUI Charge or a Second-Offense Aggravated DUI Charge, a Third-Offense Aggravated DUI charge also carries required extremely harsh minimum penalties. A summary of the penalties for a Third-Offense Aggravated DUI charge in Arizona is listed below:

  • Mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of 6 years
  • A maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years
  • Revoked driver’s license for at least 3 years
  • Supervised probation or parole after release
  • The probation or parole would likely require monthly visits to a probation officer, monthly probation fees, and random alcohol and drug tests.
  • There would be a requirement to enroll in an alcohol screening program and take alcohol abuse classes.

Because of the severity of outcomes on any Arizona DUI offense, It would be best to contact a Criminal and DUI Defense Attorney in Arizona if you are facing any DUI or Aggravated DUI charge. Call The Arizona DUI Team for a Free Initial Consultation at 602-900-0529.

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Guest Author: Attorney Brian Sloan

6,600+ DUI Cases Successfully Defended