Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs that cause impairment is illegal in Arizona, even including recreational marijuana. These Arizona DUI laws are taken seriously because driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
While most DUIs are Class 1 misdemeanors under ARS 12-1381, you can be charged with a felony DUI if you cause an accident in which someone is injured or killed while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you face DUI car accident charges, you should consult an experienced Arizona DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Potential Types of Charges for a DUI Car Accident
If you cause a drunk driving accident, you might face the following types of charges, depending on the circumstances:
- Endangerment under ARS 13-1201
- DUI aggravated assault under ARS 13-1204
- DUI negligent homicide under ARS 13-1102
- Vehicular manslaughter under ARS 13-1103
- Second-degree murder under ARS 13-1104
Endangerment can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, it can also be charged as a Class 6 felony when you are alleged to have placed someone else at imminent risk of serious injury or death. This means that you could face felony endangerment charges if you have a single-car accident with a passenger, even if no one was seriously injured, based on the risk of serious injury or death.
Following DUI accidents, aggravated assault, negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, and second-degree murder charges are felony offenses carrying lengthy prison sentences.
If you caused a DUI car accident in which someone was seriously injured or killed, you would likely face one or more of these types of charges in addition to your DUI charge. Since vehicles can be considered dangerous weapons in criminal charges involving DUI accidents, the cases can be classified as dangerous felony offenses.
In Arizona, a dangerous felony conviction requires a mandatory prison sentence without the option of probation.
How much prison time you might face for a felony charge following a drunk driving accident will depend on multiple factors. These factors include the specific offense of which you are convicted, the victim’s age, whether you have prior felony convictions, and whether the prosecutor alleged the offense as a dangerous felony.