Our DUI lawyers explain what you need to know if you are facing a drunk driving charge in Phoenix or Tempe, AZ.

Facing a drunk driving charge can be an utterly overwhelming experience. In addition to worries of how the outcome will affect your future, you may be baffled by the legal jargon of your case and unsure of the steps you need to take in order to protect your legal rights.

At The Weingart Firm, our attorneys bring decades of experience to representing individuals charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, and we offer aggressive legal representation. This includes the experience of our firm’s founder, Mark Weingart, who is a former DUI prosecutor and who served as a judge for seven years in Arizona criminal court. This experience offers our clients a distinct advantage in high-stakes DUI cases. Our attorneys’ unrivaled knowledge of every aspect of DUI law, including Arizona’s ignition interlock device (IID) requirements, ensures that our clients in Phoenix and Tempe receive fair trial resulting in minimized penalties or the dismissal of their charges entirely.

How Arizona’s 2007 DUI Reform Act Changed DUI Cases Statewide

Arizona’s 2007 DUI reform act made substantial changes to how drunk driving cases are prosecuted statewide. It also made the installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory upon conviction for any form of DUI. Previously, Arizona only required the installation of an IID for a conviction of extreme DUI, which meant that IIDs were required for only about one-quarter of all DUI convictions in the state.

When the law changed in 2007, more than 40,000 additional people were suddenly required to install IIDs in their vehicles due to DUI convictions each year. This created a logistical nightmare for individuals convicted of DUI, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), and IID manufacturers companies. While many of these logistical issues have now been resolved, for individuals who are not able to avoid conviction, the requirement to install an IID adds significantly to the financial costs and practical consequences of getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.

Arizona’s Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for DUI Offenders: How it Works

While the 2007 DUI reform act ushered in the IID requirement for all DUI offenders in Arizona, there are more than five statutes involved in implementing Arizona’s IID requirement. Here’s how it all comes together: Under the DUI reform act, all individuals who are convicted of DUI are required to equip the vehicles they drive with an IID device. This is not a court-imposed penalty, but rather a requirement that is imposed and enforced by the MVD.

Once you are convicted, the MVD will contact you by mail to inform you that you need to go to an approved company and get the required ignition interlock device(s) installed within about 30 days from the date of the notice. You are responsible for paying for the installation as well as the mandator bi-monthly check-up, and then you must pay the cost to have each device removed once you have served your sentence. During the mandatory IID period, your vehicle is connected to a GPS system and must blow into the device both (i) before your vehicle will start, and (ii) at periodic intervals while you are driving.

Arizona’s IID requirement for DUI offenders does not apply to vehicles you drive for work and which are owned by your employer. However, in order to be able to drive for work, you must first protect your right to drive during your DUI case, and your employer must then consent to allow you to drive one of its vehicles despite having a DUI on your record.

If you procrastinate or simply choose not to install an IID as required, the MVD will suspend your driver’s license and you will not be able to restore your driving privileges until you have proof that you have installed the required ignition interlock device(s).

It is also worth noting that it is a misdemeanor for a rental car company to rent you a car without an IID device installed, so this most likely is not going to be an option. If this all sounds complicated, the truth of the matter is that we have barely scratched the surface, and we encourage you to contact us so that our attorneys can answer your specific questions about Arizona’s IID laws in relation to your DUI case.

How Arizona’s 2012 DUI Reform Act Changed the State’s IID Requirement (Again)

The Arizona legislature passed another DUI reform act in 2012, and this law further changed the state’s IID requirement for certain offenders. Now, if you are convicted of a non-extreme DUI and do not have any actionable violations, the IID requirement can be “abated” after six months. Otherwise, all first-time DUI offenders (and most repeat DUI offenders) must keep ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles for 12 months without exception.

What is the rule for repeat offenders? Under the 2012 DUI reform act, if you get convicted of any form of DUI and you have a prior conviction within the past seven years, when the MVD revokes your driver’s license you can agree to install an IID; and, if you do, you will be able to drive legally for most of the revocation period. The same holds true for one-year driver’s license suspensions for refusing the Intoxilyzer or blood test—if you put in the IID, you can drive.

Schedule a Free Initial DUI Consultation with DUI Lawyer in Phoenix or Tempe, AZ

As a nationally-recognized professional on DUI defense, Arizona DUI attorney Mark Weingart has unparalleled knowledge and experience in this area of litigation. Whether you are facing your first DUI charge, you are facing heightened penalties as a repeat offender, or you have been charged with underage drinking and driving, Mr. Weingart can help you. To discuss your case (including the potential consequences if you are convicted of DUI) in confidence, call The Weingart Firm at 480-405-7922 or request a free initial consultation online today.