Impaired to the Slightest Degree
While many people assume that a blood alcohol content of .08% signals the absolute legal limit, in Arizona, you can receive a DUI if you drive with a BAC below the .08% mark. According to Arizona Statute § 28.1381, a BAC below .08% can still result in a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in some circumstances. Under this law, if you are “impaired to the slightest degree” while operating or having control of a vehicle, you can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor DUI.
The phrasing of “impaired to the slightest degree” makes Arizona DUI laws the toughest in the country. Additionally, since it is up to each individual officer to interpret “impaired to the slightest degree,” this charge can be used to issue a DUI for a wide range of cases.
If you have recently received a DUI charge, the first thing on your citation is probably a charge for “Impaired to the Slightest Degree.” This charge is unique to Arizona law, and makes it so the prosecution does not need to have your blood alcohol content (BAC) results to charge you with a DUI. If you do take a BAC test with results under the .08% mark, the officer can still issue a charge of driving under the influence. Under this law, the officer only needs to prove that you were “impaired to the slightest degree,” in other words, if you appear buzzed or tipsy, the officer can argue you were impaired enough to be guilty of a DUI, despite having a below .08% BAC.
The officer can find many ways to charge you with being “impaired to the slightest degree.” Field sobriety tests, swaying when exiting the vehicle, slurred speech, or glassy eyes are all ways to issue a DUI for being “impaired to the slightest degree.” There are many incriminating activities that can be used in the prosecution’s case for a DUI charge, but often these tests are not done properly or the evidence is weak. You need an experienced attorney to decipher any mistakes in the officer’s report, and use that information to defend your rights.
When you face a DUI charge in Arizona, you often face two charges: one for being “impaired to the slightest degree” and another for the specific BAC-related charge. Scott Stewart at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart is prepared to fight for your rights and defend you against these charges, both in criminal court and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.
Arizona Statute § 28.1381 makes it clear the state wants to set a tough precedent that deters people from driving while intoxicated, but Scott Stewart is a trained defense attorney who understands even with this strict law, there are still strategies for minimizing and eliminating DUI charges.
Contact our offices to find out more about how we can help you protect your rights after a charge of driving under the influence. Because of Scott David Stewart’s experience working as a prosecution attorney, he understands how Arizona Statute § 28.1381 is used in court by the other side. He will work with you to find the weakest case points and strategize the best defense. The Arizona Statute § 28.1381 might be the toughest in the country, but we, at the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart, are here to help. Set up a FREE case evaluation to find out how.