2024 Arizona DUI Blood Alcohol Limits

Drink and drive laws in Arizona

In Arizona, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is set at 0.08%, equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

Before we go into the specifics of drunk driving in Arizona, remember that this piece’s purpose is entirely informational. This post is not intended to promote or encourage driving while impaired in any state or region.

What is the Legal Alcohol Limit for Driving in Arizona?

In Arizona, the legal alcohol limits for driving vary depending on the driver’s category. Each category has specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) thresholds that are legally permissible. It’s important to be aware of these limits to ensure safe and legal driving practices:

  1. Regular Drivers: The legal BAC limit is 0.08%. This applies to the general driving population, including those driving personal vehicles.
  2. Commercial License Holders: For drivers holding a commercial license, the legal BAC limit is lower, at 0.04%. This reflects the higher standards expected of commercial drivers due to the nature and responsibility of their driving tasks.
  3. Minors (Under 21): Arizona enforces a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers. It is illegal for minors to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. This strict approach aims to discourage drinking and driving among young, inexperienced drivers.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Arizona

Every state, including Arizona, has specific laws regarding drunk driving. It’s crucial to be aware of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before driving. Staying informed and vigilant can help you avoid the severe penalties associated with driving under the influence (DUI). If you’re found guilty of DUI, you could face both criminal and administrative consequences. Below is an overview of Arizona’s DUI penalties to help you understand and adhere to the law. Always remember to check the official state website for the most current information.

Refusal of Chemical Test

If suspected of DUI, law enforcement may administer a chemical test. Refusing this test can lead to significant consequences:

  • First offense: One-year suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Second and third offense: Two-year suspension of your driver’s license.

A BAC of 0.08% or more (0.04% in a commercial vehicle) will result in immediate loss of driving privileges. Remember, you can be charged with DUI even with a BAC under 0.08%. Minors caught with any alcohol in their system face license suspension.

Jail Time

Conviction for DUI can lead to imprisonment:

  • First offense: Minimum of ten days in jail.
  • Second and subsequent offense: Minimum of 90 days in jail.


DUI charges also carry heavy fines:

  • First offense: At least $1,250.
  • Second and subsequent offense: At least $3,000.

License Suspension or Revocation

DUI charges can result in the following suspension periods:

  • First offense: 90 days to one year.
  • Second and subsequent offense: At least one year.

Certified Ignition Interlock Device (CIID)

A CIID is mandatory for DUI offenders. This device prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a BAC above a set limit. Misuse or non-compliance with the CIID can lead to further license suspension.

These penalties are designed to deter DUI and ensure road safety. Always check the latest laws and regulations on the official state website to stay informed.

How to Calculate if Your Blood Alcohol Limit is Legal in Arizona

In Arizona, like in many states, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a critical factor in determining lawful driving. The police typically identify a driver’s BAC level through a breathalyzer test or blood analysis. Here are two methods I recommend for estimating your BAC level, based on my decade of experience as a phlebotomist:

  1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer: For accurate results, I suggest using the BACtrack S80, widely available in Arizona. This device offers professional-grade accuracy and is both DOT & NHTSA approved and FDA 510(k) cleared. Keeping a BACtrack S80 in your car is a prudent measure. It’s common for individuals in Arizona to underestimate their BAC level, leading to impaired driving.
  2. My BAC Calculator: Alongside fellow phlebotomists and with the assistance of web developers, I’ve created an online BAC calculator. This tool considers various factors to estimate your BAC level and is available for anyone to use.

It’s important to note that while these methods provide a good estimate, they are not 100% accurate. They should be used as a guide to understanding your BAC level, helping you make informed decisions about driving. Using these tools can be a critical step in preventing driving when your BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08%. Remember, responsible drinking and driving decisions not only protect you but also others on the road.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Arizona

Drink beer and drive in Arizona

Driving with a high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is not only illegal but also dangerous. In Arizona, there are several practical and safe alternatives to ensure you don’t end up behind the wheel after consuming alcohol:

  1. Utilize Taxi or Ride-Sharing Apps: Apps like Uber and Lyft are widely available and user-friendly, offering a convenient way to get home safely. These services are operational in most parts of Arizona, including major cities and towns. Additionally, you can rely on local taxi companies for a safe ride. In Phoenix, consider using Downtown Taxi, and in Tucson, H&S 5 Star Transportation LLC is a reliable choice. These services are typically just a phone call or app tap away.
  2. Designated Driver Services: If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven to a location but consumed too much alcohol to drive back, consider using a designated driver service. These services provide a driver to take you and your car back home safely. In Tucson, Tucson Chauffeur Service is a good option, and in Phoenix, you can opt for Safeway Drivers. You can easily find such services in your city by searching for “designated driver service” online.

These alternatives not only help you abide by the law but also protect your safety and that of others on the road. Remember, it’s always better to plan ahead and choose a safe transportation option if you expect to consume alcohol.

Sticking to Impaired Driving Laws in Arizona

Impaired driving, particularly driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), remains a significant public safety issue in Arizona. In 2020, the state recorded 1,054 traffic-related fatalities, with a startling 28% attributed to drivers operating at a BAC of 0.08% or higher. This statistic underscores the critical importance of adhering to Arizona’s legal BAC limits for safe driving.

For those who have consumed alcohol, it is imperative to consider alternative transportation methods. Taking a cab, using rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, or hiring a designated driver service are practical options that can prevent the risks associated with drunk driving. It’s important to remember that alcohol affects everyone differently, making self-assessment of sobriety unreliable. A professional breathalyzer test is the only way to accurately determine your BAC level.

Regularly checking Arizona’s official website for updates on impaired driving laws and regulations is also recommended. This ensures that you are informed about the current legal standards and any changes that may occur. Driving under the influence is not only a legal concern but also a grave danger to all road users. The safest decision is always to avoid driving after drinking, regardless of how much alcohol you think you’ve consumed. By staying informed and making responsible choices, we can all contribute to safer roads in Arizona.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.