Everything You Need to Know about Alcohol Limits and Driving in Arizona
Can you have one beer, get in the car and drive without facing DUI charges in Arizona? To answer this question, you’ll need to take a look at blood alcohol concentration (BAC) numbers for the state and the number of drinks that translates to each of the percentages. Let’s look at the alcohol limits and driving in Arizona.
The Legal BAC Limit in Arizona
The legal BAC limit in Arizona is 0.08 percent for individuals aged 21 and over and 0.00 percent for drivers under the age of 21.
The percentage is a bit abstract. A 160-pound man who has had 1.5 ounces of vodka or 12 ounces of beer, for example, will get a reading of 0.08 percent. There may be individual differences from person to person and the time since the consumption of the alcoholic beverage will have an impact on the BAC reading.
Several factors have an effect on blood alcohol content. The most important ones include:
- Body weight: a person that weighs less than another will have a higher BAC reading even when they’ve consumed the same amount of alcohol.
- Gender: male and female bodies process alcohol in a different way. Since women usually have less water in their bodies, their blood alcohol content will increase faster through the consumption of the same drinks as a man.
- How fast the alcohol was consumed: people who had two glasses of vodka within one hour will have a higher BAC reading than people who had the same drinks over the course of four hours, for example.
- Food consumption: drinking on an empty stomach elevates the blood alcohol content much faster.
Thus, if you want to know how much alcohol you can consume without worrying about failing a breathalyzer test, you will not get a concrete answer. The best case scenario is to refrain from driving after consuming alcoholic beverages. Even beer can lead to a quick increase in the BAC levels and you will be accepting all of the risks that stem from alcohol consumption each time you sit behind the wheel.
Is it Ever Safe to Drive after the Consumption of Alcohol?
Arizona is one of the states that have the harshest penalties for driving under the influence. This is a criminal offense and you will face the consequences, even if you’re committing DUI for the very first time.
Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381 outlines the specifics for getting a DUI charge. One very important fact to keep in mind is that even if your BAC is below 0.08 percent, you can still face a DUI charge (a less severe one but still a criminal charge). In such instance, you will be considered impaired to the slightest degree.
Drivers of commercial vehicles have a legal BAC limit of 0.04 percent.
People who are found with traces of drugs in their bodies can also be charged with DUI, even if the traces are those of prescription medications.
There’s a general rule of thumb that states you should wait an hour before driving for every drink that you consume. Thus, if you have had three drinks, you should wait at least three hours before getting in the car. The thing to remember, however, is that bodies process alcohol differently. Even if you’ve had just one drink, there’s still some risk of getting a BAC reading above the alcohol limits and driving in Arizona will be risky.
A person who has BAC of 0.08 percent or more will face some pretty serious penalties for a first offense. These include 10 days of jail time, a fine of at least 1,500 dollars, 90-day license suspension and screening/counseling. A second-time offender will face 90 days of jail time, a fine of at least 3,500 dollars, screening and counseling, the installation of an ignition interlock device, one-year license revocation and 30 hours of community service.
Always have a plan B after you’ve consumed alcohol. Not only do you risk getting a DUI charge, you can also harm others on the road. Calculating a safe amount of alcohol to consume is very difficult to do and you still risk getting a BAC reading that will result in a potential criminal charge. Stay within alcohol limits and driving in Arizona will be a pleasure.