In our practice, we often meet with clients who are not familiar with their rights when pulled over by a police officer. Because officers will be more attentive and aggressive during the upcoming holiday season, it is especially important to learn the relevant laws so that you can know exactly what to say and do if you are pulled over for suspected drinking and driving.
In Arizona, all drivers are operating under the Implied Consent Law, A.R.S. 28-1321. This statute says that all drivers are subject to breath and chemical testing if they have been arrested for driving under the influence. Thus, if a police officer pulls you over with no reason to think you have been drinking (except under the specific circumstance of a DUI checkpoint), that officer cannot legally force you to take a test. However, if an officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle, that officer can require you to take a breath or chemical test.
However, police officers still need a warrant to conduct breath or chemical tests, unless the driver explicitly consents to the test. Refusing to expressly consent to a breath test can be risky because officers can still impose consequences for a failure to submit to the test. Importantly, these consequences include a one-year driver’s license suspension. If you refuse to submit to a test a second time, you can face two years with a suspended license.