Know Your Rights: Implied Consent and Blood Alcohol Tests in Arizona

At The Law Office of James E. Novak, we too often speak with clients in Arizona who are not fully aware of their rights when they get pulled over for a suspected DUI or DWI. Part of our job as defense attorneys is to ensure that you are well prepared for any interaction with law enforcement that might come your way, especially when laws change and the legal landscape can be difficult to track. If you are ever pulled over for alleged drunk driving, know that you have rights and that you are not automatically subject to unfair policies or procedures.

Considerations of Refusing a Breath Test

You can be found guilty of driving while intoxicated if your blood alcohol concentration is found to be at least .08 percent. For those driving under 21, however, any alcohol concentration at all found can lead to a license suspension. For officers to determine your blood alcohol concentration, they often conduct blood, breath, or urine tests to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs present in your bloodstream.

A police officer cannot legally require you to take one of these tests if that officer does not have probable cause to believe you have been drinking. This means that if an officer witnesses suspicious driving (for example, swerving, running a stop sign, or failing to use proper signals), that officer might have reason to pull you over and tell you that you are required to take a test measuring your blood alcohol concentration.

Arizona does have what is called “implied consent” laws, which means that when you drive, you are automatically consenting to test for blood alcohol concentration or drug content if an officer deems it necessary. You do not, however, have to consent to a test if the officer stopping you does not have reason to actually believe that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

It is also important to note that refusing a test can lead to administrative sanctions such as license suspension. It can also make proving the case against you harder, however, because the State will have very little concrete data to use in its attempt to convince a court that you are guilty.

In Arizona, being found guilty of driving while intoxicated can result in jail time, significant fines, and the revocation of your license. The first line of defense you have against receiving these penalties is making alternate plans when you know you are going to be drinking. Arranging for a ride from a friend or an Uber is the safest option, even if you don’t anticipate engaging in heavy drinking or drug use. While this may seem inconvenient at the time, nothing is more inconvenient that an Arizona DUI arrest.

Defending Your Rights in Arizona

At The Law Office of James E. Novak, we have extensive experience defending persons charged with DUIs in Arizona. Our office is standing by, ready to talk you through your options and make sure you know your rights under Arizona law. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 480-413-1499.

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