What does implied consent in DUI arrest mean under Arizona law?

Arizona residents may be aware that this state is an “implied consent” state with regard to testing for alcohol or drug intoxication while driving. This post addresses some of the questions that can arise in connection with implied consent.

When does implied consent become effective?

You give implied consent to be tested for alcohol, drugs or drug metabolites after you have been arrested based on reasonable suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated with alcohol or under the influence of drugs.

Can I refuse consent?

Yes, but there are consequences for doing so. Your license can be suspended for 12 months or for 24 months, if you have refused to give consent on a second or subsequent time within the past 84 months (7 years).

Even if you refuse consent, you may still be tested if law enforcement obtains a search warrant to obtain a test sample from you.

Note also that if you are rendered unconscious or are otherwise unable to expressly consent to being tested, that does not mean that you have refused consent (that is, if you have been knocked out or have passed out, you can be given a blood or urine test for alcohol or drugs while you are unconscious).

Is there any way I can shorten the suspension for refusal to consent?

You may be able to apply to have your license reinstated after not less than 90 days of suspension have passed, based on conditions including submitting to alcohol and drug screening and having an ignition interlock device placed on the vehicle or vehicles that you drive. The interlock requirement would remain for the balance of your license suspension period.

Note that if you are under a two-year suspension for a second or subsequent consent refusal, you cannot apply for this reinstatement and ignition interlock alternative.

Please be aware that this post only summarizes some of the questions connected with Arizona implied consent law. It is not a complete summation of the law, nor is it intended as legal advice. If you have questions or need more information, we recommend that you consult with Arizona law enforcement or a qualified legal professional.