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Legally Speaking: A legal and realistic breakdown of Michael Floyd’s DUI case

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2016, file photo, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) looks on during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, in Glendale, Ariz. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd was arrested early Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz., on charges of driving under the influence and failure to obey a police officer. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
LISTEN: Monica Lindstrom - KTAR Legal Expert

Although he is no longer part of the Arizona Cardinals, former wide receiver Michael Floyd still has some loose ends to tie up here.

On Dec. 12, Floyd was arrested for and charged with driving under the influence in Scottsdale. According to the police report, he refused to submit to a blood test, which resulted in a search warrant being issued for his blood and his Arizona driving privileges being suspended for one year.

Under Arizona law, if you refuse to submit to a BAC test your privilege to drive is automatically suspended for one year.

The result of the blood test showed his BAC (blood-alcohol content) was a 0.217, nearly three times the legal limit.

In Arizona, there are several ways to get a DUI and there are several types of DUIs. Here is a basic rundown of the different kinds of DUIs here in Arizona (See Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381 et seq):

Slightest degree: You can be charged with a DUI if you are impaired to the “slightest degree” by alcohol or drugs, regardless of your BAC. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Legal limit: You can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is .08 or above. This is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Extreme: If your BAC is a .15 or above, then you can be charged with extreme DUI, which is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Super Extreme: If your BAC is a .20 or above, then you can be charged with a super extreme DUI, also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Aggravated DUI: Given if you meet any of the above and have a child in the car with you, your license is suspended at the time or you have had three DUIs in the past seven years.

Not all DUIs are the same and the penalties increase as the severity of the DUI increases. Remember, Arizona is one of, if not THE, toughest states on DUIs. Each type of DUI entails license suspension and/or revocation, fines, assessments, classes, mandatory ignition interlock device use and jail time.

Floyd was charged with four crimes, two of which are DUIs. The first falls under the slightest degree category and the second is exceeding the legal limit. These typically go hand in hand.

He was charged with these before the results of the blood test came back which is why you do not see extreme and super extreme on there. Now that the results have been determined, these two additional charges will likely be added.

Arizona law has mandatory minimum penalties for each of the above types of DUI. Should Floyd plead guilty to, or be found guilty of, super extreme DUI he is looking at 45 days in jail, a fine of $500 and various monetary assessments.

He would also be subjected to loss of his driving privileges, be required to take alcohol/drug abuse classes, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device and mandatory insurance. And he would also have to pay for his jail time, just like paying for a hotel.

But wait, there’s more. Here is the kicker: Floyd was convicted of a DUI in college back in 2011.

If the prosecutor can prove that, and if that law is the same or similar to ours, then Floyd’s life just got a little bit more uncomfortable. Under Arizona law, a second conviction in these circumstances could result in 180 days in jail with a $1,000 fine and substantial increases in other assessments and penalties.

Those are the legalities. Now, let’s look at the reality.

First, Floyd is innocent until proven guilty. Second, allegations of a DUI are just allegations until Floyd admits them or a jury convicts him.

Since his BAC was a .217, it is likely an offer from the prosecutor’s office would drop it down to an extreme DUI. This would drop the jail time down to 120 days and the dollar amounts of the fines and assessments would decrease a bit.

It is possible the prosecutor wouldn’t use the college DUI, which would drop the jail time down even more, but I find that highly unlikely. There are typically no breaks when it comes to DUIs in Arizona.

That being said, Floyd is an NFL player. His life circumstances are a bit different than most. He may have more options available to him to fulfill his responsibilities under Arizona law.

Those options could include being able to serve jail time in a posh facility in another state, such as one on the East Coast, or in the form of house arrest.

Arizona deals with a lot of professional athletes who get into trouble in one form or another. It understands how to work with them but it doesn’t back down just because of who they are or how much money they have, at least when it comes to DUIs.

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