When it comes to alcohol-related crimes and penalties, Arizona has some of the strictest laws in the entire country, especially with DUI (driving under the influence) offenses.
Alcohol Consumption Laws
The legal drinking age in Arizona is 21 and, regardless of age, it is illegal for any person to consume alcoholic beverages in a public place such as a city sidewalk or public park. The public consumption law doesn’t apply to people consuming alcohol on private property with the owner’s permission or on the sidewalks and other walkways around the private property. Another exception to the public consumption law occurs when people consume alcoholic beverages in a public recreation area for a festival or other event like a concert or sporting event.
Alcohol Consumption at a Business
In Arizona, it’s illegal for a business owner or employee to allow a person under the legal drinking age stay on the premises of an establishment during the business hours in which alcohol is being sold, dispensed or consumed. It’s also illegal for anyone possessing a firearm to consume alcohol while on the premises of an establishment that sells spirits.
It’s illegal for an obviously intoxicated person to buy or attempt to buy spirituous liquor from a licensee or to consume spirituous liquor on licensed premises, and it’s illegal for a business owner or employee (such as a bartender or server) to consume alcohol while working.
No Public Intoxication in Arizona
One law that is a bit odd in Arizona is that no one can be charged with “drunk in public,” “public intoxication,” or “public drunkenness,” but because police officers cannot arrest someone for being drunk in public, they can find another reason to place that person under arrest (disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace).
Alcohol Sale in Arizona
In Arizona, there are a number of laws related to the sale of alcohol; here are a few:
It is illegal for the owner of an establishment that sells alcohol to employ any person under the age of 19; however, this law does not prohibit the employment of people who are at least 16, if supervised by a person on the premises who is at least 19, to check out or carry the alcohol to the customer’s car.
It is illegal for a retailer to sell, dispose of, deliver, or give liquor to anyone between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., and it’s illegal for a retailer to allow a person to consume or possess alcohol between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
It’s also illegal for an establishment to hold drinking contests or to sell any person an unlimited number of alcoholic beverages during any set period of time for a fixed price.
DUI in Arizona
In Arizona, a DUI conviction will result in a class 1 misdemeanor charge and penalties may include jail time, fines, alcohol treatment, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, suspension of your driver’s license, and community service hours. DUI penalties in Arizona depend upon the registered blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver, and depending on your BAC, you can be charged with a regular DUI, an aggravated DUI, an extreme DUI, or a super extreme DUI. Yes, “super extreme DUI” is actually a legal term in Arizona.
The more informed you are about Arizona alcohol-related laws, the less likely you will be to break one. If you find yourself in trouble with the law for an alcohol-related offense, please contact an Arizona criminal defense attorney to advise you about what you can expect following your arrest and indictment.