Arizona authorities are always looking for ways to enforce stricter penalties against driving under the influence. This is the main reason why the regulatory framework undergoes periodic reviews. In 2018, a new law became effective to target wrong-way driving and DUIs linked to it.
A.R.S. 28-694: Wrong Way Driving and Penalties
Section 28-694 of the A.R.S. became effective at the beginning of August 2018.
This new regulation adds a wrong-way driving section to the existing traffic laws in Arizona. Those who violate the regulation need to deal with a civil penalty, as well as a mandatory enrolment in traffic survival school.
According to the regulation, a person found guilty of driving the wrong way on a controlled access highway will have to pay a fine of 500 dollars. The wrong way is defined as the movement of the vehicle in a direction opposite to the flow of traffic as defined by signs and road markings.
These are the sanctions for people who go the wrong way without committing additional violations.
Individuals who commit wrong-way driving and who are under the influence will face even more serious consequences.
Whenever a driver goes the wrong way and they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’ll be committing an aggravated DUI. This is a serious offense because aggravated DUIs result in felony rather than misdemeanor charges.
The Consequences of Aggravated DUI
Wrong-way driving has been a serious issue throughout Arizona. In fact, Arizona has provided additional funding under the FY 2019 budget to add resources for more thorough monitoring of wrong-way driving violations.
Wrong-way driving is very often linked to some sort of impairment. Two out of three wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired drivers, statistics suggest. Such a violation can be potentially dangerous, leading to serious injuries and even death.
These are the main reasons why wrong way driving under the influence has been criminalized.
In Arizona, aggravated DUIs are Class 4 felonies. Even if the driver has never committed an aggravated DUI in the past, they will face some time in prison and financial sanctions. The minimum prison sentence is four months, and mandatory toxicology screenings and a license revocation will also be a part of the penalty the driver will have to deal with.
Even if a wrong-way driver under the influence commits such a violation for the very first time, they’ll still face aggravated DUI felony charges.
The Importance of Defending Yourself
Wrong-way driving is undoubtedly dangerous and Arizona is already known for its strict anti-DUI policies. If you’re facing aggravated DUI charges, you will need to team up with an experienced lawyer. Otherwise, you’ll have to face serious consequences that will have a long-term effect on your life, your budget, and even your career.
If you already have a previous aggravated DUI conviction, you’ll need to find the most reputable attorney to represent you. The sanctions for second-time and repeat offenders are even more serious. You can face anywhere between seven and 15 years in prison. If the wrong way of DUI driving contributes to injuries or death, the sanctions will be even more life-altering.
Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer could come up with a strategy that will lead to the dismissal of the charges altogether (a procedural violation, for example). Even if this isn’t possible, knowledgeable Arizona DUI attorneys can bargain for a better deal and more manageable sanctions.
A felony conviction on your record for driving the wrong way is definitely not something to look forward to due to its detrimental effect. Don’t underestimate the severity of the violation and get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.
Click here for information on Arizona breathalyzer laws.