December 19, 2022

Getting a DUI Resulting in Death in Arizona

No one ever thinks they will be charged with a DUI resulting in death in Arizona. But it happens more often than you might think.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Dane Perikly

Director of Virtual Services & DUI Education

Last Update on June 5, 2023

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No one ever thinks they will be charged with a DUI resulting in death in Arizona. But it happens more often than you might think. Drunk driving is responsible for nearly 1/3 of all traffic fatalities in the US. Every day, on average, drunk driving claims the lives of 9 people.

If you have been charged with a DUI resulting in death or know someone who has been charged, it is important to understand the severity of the offense and the possible penalties.

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The Consequences of a DUI Resulting in Death in Arizona

In Arizona, a DUI resulting in death is considered one of the most serious offenses. It is classified as an Extreme DUI and carries a minimum sentence of four months imprisonment.

In addition, if convicted of this offense, you could be required to pay up to $150,000 in restitution for funeral costs and other damages resulting from the incident. In addition, your license could be revoked for up to five years, and you may be required to attend an alcohol safety course.

There is no excuse for driving under the influence, and if you are charged with a DUI resulting in death, it is important to take your charge seriously. Make sure that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and work to protect them.

No one should ever have to face a charge of causing death by DUI, but unfortunately, it does happen. If you or someone you know has been charged with this offense, get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What are the charges for a DUI resulting in death in Arizona?

In Arizona, a DUI resulting in death can be charged as either: Vehicular Manslaughter, Aggravated DUI, or Second-Degree Murder. The specific charge and the potential penalties depend on the circumstances of the case.

Vehicular Manslaughter is a Class 4 Felony that carries up to 3.75 years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000, and at least four years of probation.

 Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-1103 states that a person is guilty of Manslaughter if they cause the death of another person with criminal negligence; or causes the death of an unborn child by any physical injury to the mother. A person may also be guilty of aggravated DUI if arrested for a DUI and have three or more prior convictions within 84 months.

Extreme DUI is charged as either a Class 2 or Class 3 Felony depending on the circumstances. Penalties may include prison time ranging from four months to 12.5 years and fines up to $150,000.

In Arizona, a person can be charged with an Extreme DUI if they are arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher. An extreme DUI carries more serious penalties than a standard DUI.

Second-Degree Murder is a Class 1 Felony with a penalty of life in prison or 25 years if certain conditions are met.

You can be charged with second-degree murder if the state can prove that you exhibited a “depraved heart” or behaved in a way that shows no regard for human life. A conviction of second-degree Murder carries the most serious penalties, including life in prison.

In addition, the court may require restitution and order the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, community service, and mandatory alcohol education classes. In cases involving death, a conviction will likely result in a lengthy prison sentence.

The Emotional Consequences of a DUI Resulting in Death

When you make a choice, it is important to consider more than just the immediate consequences of your action. You should also be aware of potential emotional implications that could arise as a result. Ignoring this aspect can lead to being unprepared for the psychological impact of your choices, which can be incredibly difficult to face and overcome.

Despite knowing that these impacts may come about, it can still be devastating when you feel the true weight of the results of your decisions. Preparing yourself for this eventuality is key to helping build resilience during these difficult times.

Getting Legal Counsel After DUI Resulting in Death

A DUI charge related to a death is one of the most serious charges a person can face and is likely to result in severe legal consequences. For this reason, it is incredibly important to obtain proper legal representation as soon as possible.

An experienced attorney can provide guidance and strategic advice that may be crucial to ensuring the best possible defense. From compiling evidence, negotiating plea bargains, and finding possible mitigating factors, an experienced attorney can help create the strongest defense. By utilizing all available resources, you will have the best chance of maintaining control over your case while protecting your future.

DUI Education Classes

In some cases, a court may order those charged with a DUI resulting in death to complete DUI education classes. These classes are designed to teach the participant about the effects of alcohol and drugs on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

This can include understanding what constitutes legal levels of intoxication as well as how different levels of intoxication affect physical coordination.

Participants may also learn the importance of not driving while impaired and the risks and consequences of doing so. For those charged with a DUI resulting in death, these classes can help to reinforce the gravity of such charges and ensure individuals understand the ramifications of their choices.

Completing this program is an integral step in recovering from such a terrible mistake. 

Cornerstone DUI provides online DUI classes to the state of Arizona and to any state which allows online DUI classes. Learn more about the DUI services we offer by visiting our DUI service hub

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Author & Reviewers

dane perikly dui writer headshot

Dane Perikly


Dane is the Director of Virtual services at Cornerstone. He contributes guides on DUI education so that you can understand all there is to know about DUI charges, education, and the overall process of meeting Arizona requirements after a DUI. He cares deeply about raising awareness of the dangers of DUI and illustrating the impact on victims and on those charged. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges, he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of conditions.

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