If you’re planning to move to or visit the Grand Canyon state, you might be wondering what the drug and alcohol laws in Arizona are like. For example, does AZ have zero tolerance laws? And what is the penalty for DUI in AZ? Here’s what to know about the laws you have to follow—and the penalties if you don’t.

DUI Laws in Arizona

Just like in every state, driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona is illegal. The penalties for this crime can vary from fines and jail time to alcohol treatment and loss of your license. 

In Arizona, you can get a DUI when driving a car:

  • With a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
  • Or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs if you’re impaired to the slightest degree

This means that even if your BAC is under 0.08%, you can get a DUI Slightest Degree if the officer thinks you’re too impaired to safely drive.

Zero Tolerance Laws in Arizona

To reduce the rate of drunk driving among young people, Arizona has a Zero Tolerance Law for underage drivers.

This law says that if you’re under the age of 21, the legal BAC is 0.0%. So if you have even one drink underage and then drive in Arizona, you could get a DUI.

Is Marijuana Legal in Arizona?

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but recreational marijuana use is illegal. Also, Arizona has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country, even if you have a medical card. If you want to legally use medical marijuana, you:

  • Must have your medical card on you any time you have cannabis.
  • Can’t have more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis with you at any time.
  • May be allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space if you live more than 25 miles from a dispensary and get approval first.

Alcohol and Drug-Related Crimes in Arizona 

Drug crime in Arizona includes:

  • Possession for personal use: If you’re caught with a small amount of marijuana, a narcotic drug, or a dangerous drug, you may face charges for drug possession for personal use. This could lead to 0 to 1 years in jail and at least a $2,000 fine.
  • Possession with the intent to sell or distribute: If you possess a large amount of drugs or if police have reason to think you plan to sell drugs, you could be charged with the intent to sell.  
  • Drug manufacturing: In Arizona, it’s illegal to produce marijuana. It’s also illegal to make or have equipment that could produce narcotics, dangerous drugs, or prescription drugs.

Alcohol-related crime in Arizona includes: 

  • Minor in possession of alcohol: Anyone under age 21 who is caught with alcohol in Arizona could face a misdemeanor.
  • Underage drinking: It’s illegal to drink alcohol in Arizona if you’re under 21, unless you can prove you drank it for medical or religious reasons.
  • Drunk driving (DUI): It’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. You could face criminal charges if your BAC is 0.08 or higher or the officer has reason to believe you’re too impaired to safely drive.
  • Use of a fake ID: Using false ID to buy alcohol is illegal and can lead to jail time and loss of your license.

Breaking these drug and alcohol laws in Arizona can lead to serious penalties. They might include jail time, fines, and the loss of your license.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Arizona

Breaking drug and alcohol laws in Arizona leads to penalties that include:

DUI Penalties in AZ

A DUI in Arizona can result in:

  • 10 to 180 days in jail
  • $1,480 to $4,250 in fines
  • 90 days to 1 year of license suspension
  • 12 to 24 months of ignition interlock device on car

Zero Tolerance Penalties in AZ

If you’re under 21 and have a BAC of more than 0.0% in Arizona, you’ve broken the Zero Tolerance law. You could face these penalties for a first offense:

  • 24 hours to 10 days in jail
  • A $1,600 fine
  • Suspended license for 90 to 360 days

Cannabis Penalties in AZ

In Arizona, being caught with any amount of marijuana could be a felony. For less than 2 pounds of this drug, you could face:

  • Up to 2 years in prison
  • Up to $150,000 in fines

The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice. Consult with a lawyer before making decisions that could lead to drug or alcohol charges.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Arizona

If you’re worried about the penalties for drug and alcohol laws in Arizona, it’s time to get help. Call your local treatment center to get on the path to recovery today!


  1. Arizona DUI Laws. (n.d.)
  2. Medical marijuana laws in AZ: What is legal and illegal? (2019, February 5)
  3. Frequently Asked Questions Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. (2020, January 15)
  4. Driving Under the Influence (DUI). (n.d.)
  5. Arizona Drug Possession Laws. (n.d.)

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