You don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, but red and blue lights flash behind you. You pull over and roll down your window. The officer asks you questions about where you’ve been and where you’re going, but won’t tell you why he or she made the stop. Suddenly the officer asks you to submit to a blood test for suspected driving under the influence (DUI). What do you do? It may surprise you to know that it’s within your legal rights to refuse DUI tests in Arizona. There could, however, be consequences.
You Break the Implied Consent Law
Arizona has an “implied consent” law that states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state gives his or her implied consent to submit to blood, breath, urine, or other tests for the purpose of determining DUI. Note that the officer must have “reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or in physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.” A driver must submit and complete any test or tests an officer requires.
Implied consent laws are not set in stone. A driver has the right to refuse to submit to blood, urine, and breath tests. The officer cannot force you to take these tests. Should you break the implied consent law and refuse the tests, the officer must inform you that your driver’s license or permit will face suspension for 12 months for a first offense, and up to two years for a second offense. The officer cannot arrest you for refusing the tests, but you can still face arrest if he or she believes you are intoxicated, even without proof of a BAC test.
The Officer Still Arrests You
There is a possibility that the officer will still place you under arrest for suspected DUI without results from a blood test. The blood test is not the only piece of evidence the officer might have available against you. If you show any signs of intoxication, it might be enough to give the officer probable cause for a DUI arrest. This includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, lack of vehicle control, and the results of a field sobriety test.
If the officer still arrests you despite having no blood test taken, continue to refuse any sobriety tests. At this point, the officer will likely have little to no evidence against you – giving you a good chance of escaping a conviction during a subsequent hearing. Note, however, that you can still receive a DUI, even if you refuse the blood tests. The officer could even use your refusal as evidence against you, arguing that you knew you would not pass.
You Attend a Driver’s License Hearing
Do not let the arresting officer use scare tactics to convince you to submit to a BAC test. Losing your driving privilege for a year might seem daunting, but this won’t necessarily be what happens. License suspension is not an automatic penalty for refusing a DUI blood test in Arizona. Instead, the officer will give you a 15-day driving permit. Use these 15 days to fight to get your license back. At the hearing, your attorney can use one or more defense strategies in your favor, such as that the officer did not have reason to stop you or made an improper arrest. If you make your case at the hearing, you can regain your driving privileges. Retain a good DUI defense attorney for help after an Arizona DUI arrest.