Arizona Felony DUI with Minor in the Car ARS 28-1383

felony dui with minor in the car

Arizona takes driving under the influence (DUI) very seriously, especially when a minor is in the car. Under ARS 28-1383, a person can face felony DUI charges if they are caught driving under the influence with a child passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle.


A conviction for felony DUI with a minor in the car can have serious consequences, including hefty fines, license suspension, and even prison time.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for felony DUI seek legal advice from a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer. Josh Kolsrud is a seasoned attorney specializing in DUI defense cases and can provide expert consultation on handling the legal system and protecting your rights.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, in 2022, there were over 26,000 DUI arrests statewide, and approximately 30% involved aggravated DUI charges. Among aggravated DUIs, nearly 20% involved drivers with a minor in the car.

How Does Arizona Define Aggravated DUI Charges

Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 28-1383, a DUI charge becomes an aggravated DUI when any of the following conditions are met:


  1. DUI with a Suspended, Revoked, or Cancelled License: The driver is found guilty of a DUI while their driver's license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled.

  2. Third DUI Offense in 84 Months: The driver is convicted of a third DUI offense within 84 months (7 years) of the previous offenses.

  3. DUI with a Minor in the Vehicle: The driver is caught operating a vehicle under the influence with a minor under the age of 15 in the car.

  4. Court-Ordered Ignition Interlock Violation: The driver violates a court-ordered requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

  5. Driving the Wrong Way: The driver operates the vehicle in the wrong direction on a highway while under the influence.

How Does Arizona Penalize DUI's Involving Minor Children

In Arizona, driving under the influence (DUI) with a minor in the vehicle is considered an aggravated DUI and carries severe penalties. The state treats this offense as child endangerment due to the heightened risk to the child's safety.


Here's how Arizona penalizes DUIs involving minor children:


Legal Classification

Class 6 Felony: According to ARS § 28-1383(A)(3), a DUI with a minor under 15 in the vehicle is classified as a Class 6 felony, regardless of whether it's a first-time DUI or a repeat offense.



  • Jail Time: A minimum of 10 days in jail, which could be longer if aggravating circumstances exist.
  • Fines and Assessments: Fines and assessments can exceed $4,600, including:

    • A base fine
    • Court surcharges
    • Additional fees
  • License Suspension: A driver's license can be suspended or revoked for a minimum of one year.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Installation of an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for at least one year.
  • Probation or Community Service: Probation with mandatory community service hours may be required.
  • Alcohol or Drug Treatment Program: Attendance in a state-approved alcohol or drug treatment program is mandatory.


Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenders

  • Second DUI Offense Involving a Minor:
    • Class 4 felony
    • Minimum of 4 months in prison
    • Fines exceeding $4,000
    • License revocation for up to 3 years


  • Third DUI Offense Involving a Minor: 
    • Class 3 felony
    • Extended prison time
    • Higher fines and assessments
    • Possible permanent license revocation


Child Endangerment and Custody Implications

In addition to criminal penalties, a DUI involving a minor can lead to:

  • Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation: CPS may investigate and assess the child's safety, potentially resulting in temporary removal from the home.
  • Custody Consequences: Family court judges may consider a DUI involving a minor when making child custody decisions.

Aggravated DUI charges involving a minor can have far-reaching consequences beyond criminal penalties, affecting your family and future. Seeking legal representation can help minimize these impacts.

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Are There Related Offenses I Can Be Charged With?

In addition to being charged with a felony DUI involving a minor in the vehicle under ARS § 28-1383, you could face several related offenses that can significantly increase the severity of penalties.


Child Endangerment

Child endangerment involves placing a minor under the age of 18 in a dangerous situation. In Arizona, it is typically charged as a Class 6 felony under ARS § 13-3623. Penalties include jail or prison time, fines, and mandatory parenting classes.


Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is defined as driving with willful disregard for the safety of others, including minors. It is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor under ARS § 28-693. Penalties include up to 4 months in jail, fines, and points on your driving record.


Criminal Damage

Criminal damage refers to damaging property while driving under the influence. Depending on the extent of the damage, this offense can range from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony under ARS § 13-1602. Penalties include jail or prison time, fines, and restitution to property owners.


Facing multiple charges can greatly increase penalties, including jail time and fines. 

aggravated dui defense strategies

Defenses to a Felony DUI with a Minor in the Car

Being charged with a felony DUI involving a minor in the vehicle under ARS § 28-1383 is serious, and the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, the prosecution must establish that:


  1. The defendant was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  2. The defendant was impaired due to alcohol or drugs or had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  3. A minor under the age of 15 was present in the vehicle.


For the defense, this high standard means that any reasonable doubt regarding these elements can lead to an acquittal or a reduction of charges. Several defenses can be used to challenge the prosecution's case, depending on the specifics of your situation.

  • Unlawful Traffic Stop

    • If the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop, any evidence gathered afterward could be inadmissible, including results from field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. Demonstrating an unlawful traffic stop can lead to a dismissal of the charges.

  • Faulty Breathalyzer Test or Field Sobriety Test

    • Breathalyzer machines are susceptible to errors due to improper calibration, maintenance, or operator error. Similarly, field sobriety tests can be inaccurate if not conducted under appropriate conditions or by a properly trained officer. If it's proven that these tests were faulty, the test results may be excluded from evidence.

  • Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest

    • Even if the initial traffic stop was lawful, the arrest itself must have probable cause. If the officer arrested you without sufficient evidence of impairment, your defense attorney can argue for a dismissal.

  • Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

    • Alcohol takes time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. In some cases, a driver's BAC may rise between the time of driving and the time of testing. This defense can be used if there is reason to believe that the BAC was below the legal limit while driving.

  • Violation of Miranda Rights

    • If the police did not read you your Miranda rights at the time of arrest, any statements you made afterward could be excluded from evidence. This could weaken the prosecution’s case and potentially lead to a dismissal of charges.

  • Lack of Evidence of Impairment

    • The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was impaired while operating the vehicle. A lack of direct evidence, such as video footage or credible eyewitness testimony, can weaken the prosecution’s case.

  • Necessity Defense

    • In rare cases, a necessity defense may be applicable if the driver can demonstrate that they were compelled to drive under the influence due to an emergency involving the child’s safety or well-being.

A felony DUI involving a minor in the car is a serious charge, but effective legal defenses can significantly reduce penalties or result in the dismissal of charges. 

Contact the Defense Attorneys at Kolsrud Law Offices

If you've been charged with a felony DUI involving a minor in the car, the consequences can be severe. Josh Kolsrud and his team of experienced defense attorneys at Kolsrud Law Offices are here to help. They will craft a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.


He's taken on over 100 trials and handled more than 3,500 cases.


For more details on how Josh Kolsrud can assist with your case, or to schedule a free initial consultation, you can contact him directly at the Kolsrud Law Offices. He is available via phone at (602) 638-3790.

An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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