<b>New DUI law protects other people on roads</b>

On April 11 Governor Jane Dee Hull signed into law Arizona's Driving Under the Influence Limit Law. The law reduces the DUI blood alcohol concentration limit from .10 to .08 and went into effect Sept. 1.

On April 4 the governor signed into law Arizona's Extreme DUI Limit Law. This reduced the extreme DUI blood alcohol concentration limit from .18 to .15 and went into effect immediately after signing.

The reason behind the change in the numbers is because of increased awareness of the problem of drinking and driving. It wasn't too long ago that the laws were updated to increase penalties, fines and jail time for people convicted of extreme DUI — that was back in December of 1998. It's obvious there still is a problem, since the governor saw the need to fine tune the law again this year.

Under the new law, if you are arrested for DUI and you have a BAC of .08 or more, you will surrender your license or permit to drive to the law enforcement officer on the spot. You will be issued a 30 to 90-day suspension and restriction on your driving privilege. If you refuse to take a blood alcohol concentration test, the suspension will be for 12 months. All of this happens in addition to criminal proceedings.

Other things people convicted of DUI can look forward to are:

Paying a fine of at least $250, plus any assessment, surcharges, restitution and incarceration costs (typically $90 for the first night and $40 each additional night) imposed by the courts; Paying an additional assessment of $250; Potential community service work; Installing a certified ignition interlock device on any motor vehicle the convicted person operates; A minimum of 24 consecutive hours in jail and a maximum of 30 days; and paying attorney fees and additional insurance rates for up to a decade.

Once a person has their first DUI, the penalties for driving under the influence are even stiffer. Their second offense, no matter what the BAC percent is, will be considered an extreme DUI. This carries with it a minimum $750 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

The third offense, considered aggravated DUI, has a $1,000 fine, and a minimum of 1 year in jail as penalties.

These new laws are not a way to punish people for having a good time and a few beers. Instead they are a deterrant that will hopefully prevent people from getting behind the wheel after they have been consuming alcohol.

Last year, every 30 minutes a person was killed in an alcohol-related crash. Let's try to reduce those numbers by abiding the new law and staying off the road if you've been drinking.


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