A Day in Jail for DUI is At Least 8 Hours

Jail Cell Bars

The minimum sentence for an Arizona Misdemeanor DUI is 1 actual day in jail.  Years ago, 1 day meant 24 hours but the legislature changed it to simply say “1 day” and not “24 hours”.  Depending on the county 1 day could be much less than 24 hours. For example, in Maricopa County currently if a defendant is permitted to self-surrender to serve a jail sentence, they must do so on a Thursday or Friday between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Since under the current law a day in jail has no minimum number of hours, serving from 8 p.m. to Midnight is enough to be considered “a day in jail.”  When the defendant is released the next day before the expiration of 24 hours is entirely up to detention officers, a defendant almost never serves a full 24 hours.  I have had clients released as early as 2:00 a.m.

This year the legislature changed the law in 2021 Ariz. Session Laws, Chap. 148, so that in order to get credit for a day in jail the person must be in custody for at least 8 hours for each day. So, for example if defendant had to serve 1 day in jail, they would have to self-surrender at 4:00 p.m. so they could serve the 8 hours needed to get credit for the day in jail.  If they had to serve 2 days in jail, they would have to self-surrender at 8 p.m. and be in custody until at least 8 a.m. the next day.

In other counties such as Pinal County, where the jail interprets a day as 24 hours, this law will not make any difference.

This new law will go into effect 90 days from the end of the current legislative session, which as of today, June 4, 2021, has not ended.


Gordon Thompson

For more information about Arizona DUI and criminal law issues please contact Gordon Thompson who has used his experience to write a blog on topics of interest. You can also chat with Gordon about your specific questions.

Website:  https://www.GordonThompsonAttorney.net

Blog:  https://www.GordonThompsonAttorney.net/blog/