Arizona Proposes Legislation to Allow Extreme-DUI Offenders to Skip Jail Altogether

By Mary Ann

The Arizona state senate gave preliminary approval to a DUI law requiring drivers convicted of extreme-DUI (0.15 BAC) to serve their full 30 day sentence. The new DUI law would forbid judges from suspending any portion of extreme-DUI offenders’ sentences even if they complete court-ordered drug or alcohol screenings or programs. Before the DUI law received approval, however, Senator Jorge Garcia tacked on a provision allowing judges to completely eliminate the sentence of a driver convicted of extreme-DUI if he pays for and completes a 30-day residential treatment program.

Some Arizona lawmakers disapprove of allowing drivers to go to rehab. One senator complained that “you won’t have to serve any time at all as long as you can afford a nice rehab center.  You’ll spend your 30 days in a rehab facility instead of jail, where you belong.”

Senator Garcia responded that those who believe that programs like Sierra Tucson and the Betty Ford Clinic are little more than vacations are wrong. “They may be in cushy surroundings,” he said. “But the reality is it’s hard work for anyone who goes through a 30-day program.”

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