DUI Stops and Testing on the Road in Arizona: Know Your Rights

Too often, our clients come to us concerned because of charges resulting from a DUI stop. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we know and understand how frightening it is to get pulled over, and that when alcohol is involved, the stakes are high. It is thus crucial to know your rights when you are on the road so that you can be prepared if and when you see the flashing blue lights behind you.

Probable Cause

The first thing to know is that if an officer pulls you over and asks you to perform a breathalyzer test, they must have probable cause to suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means that officers cannot ask you to perform a sobriety test without some indication that you are not sober (the exception to this rule would be if the officers are conducting a DUI checkpoint and you were randomly selected to conduct a test as part of this checkpoint).

Anything that you say or do could be used against you in order for the officer to find probable cause to breathalyze you, test your urine, or test your blood. For example, if you are swerving on the road or if (after the traffic stop) your speech is impaired, the officer will likely have legal grounds to request that you take a sobriety test. In Arizona, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of .08% or higher, but officers can still arrest you if your BAC is lower than .08% and if their perception is that you are “impaired to the slightest degree.” For example, if your BAC is .07% but you are slurring your words when you speak to the officer, that officer can still arrest you under suspicion of a DUI.

Testing Requirements

You are only legally required to take a sobriety test if the officer has probable cause to believe you were intoxicated. The implied consent law in Arizona mandates that you submit to testing requirements. If you have been arrested and refuse to be tested, officers have the power to suspend your driver’s license for one year (or longer if you’ve refused in the past). Refusing a chemical test may make it more difficult for the government to prove a case against you. However, that is not always the case, as the government can also rely upon the officer’s observations indicating you were intoxicated as well as any physical evidence found in the vehicle, such as open containers.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI in the State of Arizona?

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we work with clients who have been arrested for Arizona DUI offenses every day. We know how much is on the line for you when you interact with a police officer, and we are committed to helping you understand your rights so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones. For a free consultation, call our office at 480-413-1499. You can also fill out our online form to have your questions answered.

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