Too often in our practice, we meet with clients that are not aware of their rights when on the road in Arizona. If a police officer pulls you over for suspected driving under the influence, there are laws that are important to know and remember as you interact with the officer. Perhaps most importantly, Arizona’s implied consent law makes it difficult for drivers to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test.
Implied Consent Law
Under the implied consent law, any person operating a motor vehicle in Arizona automatically gives consent to a test that allows law enforcement to determine alcohol concentration or drug content if that person is arrested for a DUI. Thus, if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer can require that driver to take any test of the officer’s choice. The officer can also legally require this test if he or she suspects a driver under the age of 21 has any alcohol in their body.
If the driver refuses the test, the officer can serve a notice of a 12-month suspension of the driver’s license or a notice of suspension of the privilege to drive (if the driver is from a different state). Importantly, a driver who refuses the test can be subject to a warrant that allows the officer to take a blood sample even despite their refusal.
Thus, the key to this law is that if an officer does suspect use of drugs or alcohol, that officer can essentially force you to take a blood, breath, or urine test. If you refuse, there will be significant consequences. However, if an officer has no reason to suspect drug or alcohol use, the officer cannot randomly require you to submit to a test, unless you are passing through a government checkpoint that tests drivers in a systematized, random order.
If a chemical test reveals a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (.04 or higher for commercial vehicles), the officer can suspend your driver’s license for at least 90 days.
Of course, the most important thing you can do while on the road is to make sure you are not driving while intoxicated. Making a plan before you have any alcohol is the best course of action; arrange for an Uber, a friend, or a taxi to get you home safely.
Your Best Protection: Consulting a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with any kind of DUI or DWI in Arizona, it is essential that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney that can walk you through your rights as well as your options moving forward. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we can help you fight your charges if your chemical test produced unfavorable results. We understand how to examine the circumstances surrounding a test and fight the prosecution so that you have the highest possible likelihood of walking away with your charges dismissed. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 480-413-1499.