Penalties For Dui With A Child In The Car

Law enforcement authorities in Arizona tend to prosecute DUIs harshly, even for first-time offenders. However, if you are accused of being drunk behind the wheel while a minor child is in the car with you, the case becomes more difficult.

The penalties for DUI with a child in the car can change a little bit from case to case depending on whether you have a history of DUI convictions, but they are always extremely severe. Here is a brief overview of what repercussions this accusation may have for you, all of which a trusted DUI defense lawyer can go into more detail about during a private consultation.


In Arizona, someone commits DUI if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 higher or more, or if they drive while they are “impaired” by drugs or alcohol in the opinion of an arresting police officer. State law also allows for enhanced penalties in the event someone commits “extreme DUI” by driving with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher: a minimum 30-day jail term for first-time offenders as opposed to the usual 10-day minimum, and a minimum fine of $2,500 compared to the standard $1,250 fine.

Someone who commits DUI while they have a child under the age of 15 in the car with them will likely be prosecuted for “aggravated DUI” rather than simple or extreme DUI. This means they will be prosecuted under the same section of state law—Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1383—which applies to people accused of a third regular DUI offense within a seven-year period, drunk driving under a suspended license, and people who refuse to consent to blood alcohol testing while they have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed.


Unlike simple and extreme DUI, both of which are misdemeanor offenses, aggravated DUI is considered a felony offense in Arizona. Specifically, DUI with a child in the car is treated as a Class 6 felony. This is not as serious as the Class 4 felony designation for other forms of aggravated DUI, but still can result in a prison term of between four months and two years for a first-time offender. Other penalties associated with this offense may include several thousand dollars of fines and surcharges, a minimum one-year driver’s license revocation, and one year minimum of IID installation when that license is restored.

Repeat aggravated DUI offenders may face even harsher minimum and maximum penalties upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense. A previous conviction for simple DUI may be seen as grounds to treat a defendant accused of DUI with a child in the car as a repeat offender, even if they have never been convicted of aggravated DUI before.


Make no mistake: being accused of driving drunk while you have any minor child in the car with you is an extremely serious offense in Arizona, whether you had a clean criminal record up to now or not. Furthermore, because of how much leeway Arizona gives state courts when it comes to imposing sentences against repeat offenders, your case might play out differently from how it did in the past.

Put simply, if you want to minimize the severity of penalties for DUI with a child in the car, you will need help from an experienced defense lawyer. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today for a consultation.