Impaired Driving in Arizona 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Arizona

In Arizona, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% gram or 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. However, you may face punishment if you operate a vehicle for commercial purposes with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.04% or more.

Depending on one’s gender, age, stature, and other characteristics, the 0.08% limit can be equivalent to one to two standard alcoholic drinks.

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.

Impaired driving is defined as driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

In 2020, Arizona had 1,054 traffic-related fatalities. Driving with 0.08% BAC was responsible for 28% of these fatalities.

The state government of Arizona is doing its best to combat alcohol-impaired driving in the state.

Thus, adhering to Arizona’s permitted BAC level is essential before getting behind the wheel. If you must travel after drinking, take a cab or hire a designated driver.

It is also imperative to check the state’s official website to stay in the loop on Arizona’s impaired driving rules and regulations.

DUI Limit When Driving in Arizona

You can get penalties for DUI driving in Arizona if your BAC level is more significant than 0.08%, 0.04%, and above for commercial drivers and 0.00% above for drivers below 21.

Gender, body type, and the amount of alcohol consumed all influence the amount of alcohol required to reach the legal BAC limit.

Alcohol has a variety of effects on humans. Some individuals may feel disoriented and drunk even after consuming a modest amount of alcohol.

You can use a BAC chart or BAC calculator to determine how much alcohol you can consume. However, because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, these instruments may not suit everyone.

Using a reputable alcohol breathalyzer is the most accurate measurement of your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Arizona

Every state has its unique set of drunk driving laws. Thus, checking your BAC level before getting behind the wheel is vital. By doing this, you may avoid getting penalized. 

If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may face both criminal and administrative sanctions.

You can find an outline of Arizona’s impaired driving consequences below to help you understand and comply with the law.

Refusal of Chemical Test

Law enforcement will give a chemical test if you are stopped and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on field sobriety testing. Refusal to take the chemical test may result in the following:

  • First offense: Suspension of driver’s license for one year
  • Second and third offense: Suspension of driver’s license for two years

If a test reveals that you have an alcohol content of 0.08% or more (0.04% in a commercial vehicle needing a commercial driver’s license), you will immediately lose your driving privileges.

Even if your blood alcohol content was less than 0.08%, you could be found guilty of DUI.

If you are under the age of 21, having any alcohol in your system can result in licensing suspension.

Jail Time

The following duration of imprisonment may apply to you if you are charged with DUI:

  • First offense: Imprisonment of not less than ten days
  • Second and subsequent offense: Imprisonment of not less than 90 days


The Arizona government also imposes the following fines if you are charged with DUI:

  • First offense: A fine of at least $1,250
  • Second and subsequent offense: A fine of at least $3,000

License Suspension or Revocation

If you are charged with DUI driving, your license may be suspended within the following duration:

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

Certified Ignition Interlock Device (CIID)

An ignition interlock device is a testing gadget linked to the vehicle’s ignition and power systems. It is used to test alcohol levels through your breath.

Before turning the ignition, the driver breathes into the device. The driver must also blow into the instrument at random intervals while driving. If the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds a specified threshold, the vehicle will not start. 

This device is mandatory for DUI offenders. Any violations in utilizing the device may result in the suspension of your interlock license. 

When Can You Drink and Drive in Arizona?

As mentioned earlier, alcohol has varied effects on people. Additionally, males and females have different BAC levels.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme levels are more significant in men’s systems than women’s. These enzymes account for men’s quick alcohol metabolism as they mainly help with alcohol absorption. As a result, men absorb alcohol more quickly than women.

You can use the information below as a guide to estimate how much quantity of alcohol you can drink before driving in Arizona.

However, remember that while the following information is based on studies, it may not fit everyone because alcohol affects people differently.

How Many Beers Can You Have and Drive in Arizona?

Drink beer and drive in Arizona

According to this BAC chart, a male weighing roughly 82 kg (180 lbs) can reach a BAC level of 0.02% after consuming one 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

On the other hand, a woman with the same weight and who takes the same amount of beer can achieve a BAC of 0.03%.

The BAC chart shows that the lower a person’s weight, the greater his BAC after drinking alcohol.

One to two bottles of beer is generally adequate to stay within Arizona’s legal BAC level. One bottle of beer should be enough if you are a commercial vehicle driver.

How Much Wine Can You Drink and Drive in Arizona?

In the same scenario, two glasses of wine are enough to stay inside Arizona’s legal DUI limit. A standard glass of wine (142 ml/5oz) can contain up to 12% alcohol.

Again, commercial vehicle drivers can receive punishment for having a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Thus, one glass of wine is sufficient to keep them from exceeding the BAC limit.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Arizona?

One shot of liquor is 44 ml (1.5 oz). Drinking hard liquors might be challenging due to their high alcohol level.

Two shots of whiskey or vodka can boost an 82 kg (180 lb) man’s blood alcohol content to 0.04%.

On the other hand, a woman of the same weight can have a BAC level of 0.05% after eating the same amount.

One to two shots of liquor should be sufficient if you need to drive after drinking. If you operate a commercial vehicle, one shot is preferable.

Sticking to Impaired Driving Laws in Arizona

Everybody should keep in mind that driving under the influence of any substance is hazardous for all drivers on the road.

Avoiding driving after drinking is the best and safest option. You can never be certain of your BAC and driving capability, even if you’ve only had a few drinks.

Because everyone responds differently to alcohol, only a breathalyzer can accurately measure your BAC level.

There are alternative ways to travel if you are impaired. You could take a cab or Uber or call a friend and ask them to accompany you to your destination.

If you must drive after drinking, ensure your BAC level is less than Arizona’s legal limit.

We also recommend getting familiarized with the impaired driving laws by visiting Arizona’s official website.

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.