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Posted on September 16, 2020 in DUI

What You Need to Know About DUI Classes

Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in the state of Arizona. Depending on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and whether or not they have previous DUI convictions, driving under the influence can be a Class 1 Misdemeanor all the way up to a Class 4 Felony.

If it is a first-time offense and the driver’s BAC was between .08 and .15, punishment will include between one day and six months in jail, a base fine of $250, and a 90-day suspension of the driver’s license.

A second offense with a BAC between .08 and .15 has even harsher penalties and results in a minimum of 30 days in jail, a base fine of $500, and the driver’s license is suspended for one year.

A third offense results in a minimum of four months in jail, a base fine of $750, and a one-year suspension of the driver’s license.

There are, however, stronger penalties if the driver’s BAC was above .15 and various other punishments for commercial drivers who have a BAC above .04 or drivers under the age of 21 who have a BAC above 0. This last rule is often referred to as the not-a-drop law.

To help understand what punishment category your offense falls under, it is best to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Do You Need to Take Classes if Convicted of a DUI?

An additional aspect of the penalties related to DUIs and something drivers need to do in order to reinstate their driver’s license is take DUI classes. In fact, even if your 90-day or one-year suspension has come to an end, you can’t legally drive again until you have completed your court-mandated DUI classes.

The first step to reinstating your license, as ordered by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), is to meet with a licensed substance abuse counselor. You will also need to go through a screening process that many private companies offer via video chat. During the screening you will be assessed to determine your drinking history and if you are dependent on alcohol. Once you have done that, you can continue the process and take the necessary DUI classes.

If your DUI is categorized as a Level 1 or Level 2 offense you will need to complete 16 hours of DUI classes. There are many private companies that offer these classes online which allows you to complete them at your own pace. However, before paying money for DUI classes, you need to make sure the classes meet all Arizona Depart of Health and MVD applicable requirements.

If you are a repeat offender or have committed a more extreme DUI offense (usually meaning your BAC was above .15) then you might be ordered to take more than the minimum 16 hours of DUI classes. In some cases, you might be ordered to complete 20, 36, or even up to 56 hours of classes.

While many of these classes do include online options, it is possible that for longer requirements you will need to attend in-person DUI classes. The best way to determine which class meets the requirements you need to fulfill is to contact an approved company or organization that offers DUI classes.

If I am Arrested for a DUI, Do I Need a Lawyer?

There are many advantages to hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. First of all, in order to convict you the state needs to prove that you:

  • Were driving, operating, or in physical control of the vehicle
  • Had a BAC of .08 or were impaired regardless of your BAC
  • Were intoxicated within two hours of driving

Even though a DUI might seem like a cut and dry case, there is plenty of room for error and a criminal defense attorney will know which questions to ask and where to look to see if the arresting officer made any mistakes in your case.

Your lawyer can also advise you on your defense and even make sure the DUI classes you are planning to take meet the requirements as laid out by the Arizona Department of Health and MVD.

After any DUI, your goal is to get back on the road as soon as possible and experience as little disruption to your life as possible. A good criminal defense attorney should be able to help you do both.