A recent arrest for “super extreme DUI” could lead to questions about the structure of Arizona DUI laws for those who do not understand how these laws are designed. Steven Ray Hadley, Jr., of Lake Havasu City was arrested by Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies for DUI when they stopped him for erratic driving. Radley admitted to having consumed alcohol, and a blood test revealed that his BAC was .233 percent.
Law enforcement officials then charged Radley with four counts: DUI; DUI with a BAC over .08 percent; extreme DUI with a BAC over .15 percent; and super extreme DUI with a BAC over .20 percent.
Many people do not understand how a person can be charged with four different DUI charges from a single stop. However, Arizona law permits these types of charges, so anyone with a blood alcohol content of more than .20 percent must be aware of the potential for them to face serious charges.
Arizona’s Four DUI Levels
Arizona law allows four types of DUI charges based on blood alcohol content, as follows:
- Impaired to the slightest degree. A DUI based on “impaired to the slightest degree” can be charged against anyone whose driving is allegedly affected by alcohol or drugs, no matter what their BAC. However, someone who is charged with DUI without having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher may be found not guilty if the police cannot show that the driver truly was impaired.
- DUI. Driving under the influence of alcohol depends on a blood alcohol of more than .08 percent but less than .15 percent. This is the “traditional” DUI charge that most people think of when they hear the term. This is also the type of charge that does not require the police to show that the driver was impaired; the judge can assume a driver with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent was impaired. This is known as a per se charge.
- Extreme DUI. A person with a BAC between .08 percent and .15 percent can be charged with Extreme DUI and is subject to stricter penalties as well.
- Super Extreme DUI. Arizona is one of the few states that has a Super Extreme DUI charge that allows the judge to impart very serious penalties for anyone with a BAC of greater than .20 percent.
The reasoning on charging someone with four DUIs is fairly simple. In order to reach .20 percent, a driver must have been impaired to the slightest degree and driving under the influence at the lower alcohol levels first, so the law allows prosecutors to charge the driver with all four types of DUI.
Alex Lane can explain the various levels of DUI to you and help you devise a defense to your charges, no matter what your BAC.