Every state has DUI laws that are meant to stop drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Arizona is no exception with a legal limit of .08%. So what should you do if you happen to be behind the wheel after you have exceeded this limit? Here are some helpful things you should know:
1) You will be asked to provide identification.
The first thing that will probably happen when you get stopped is that an officer will ask for your driver’s license and registration. If you fumble around looking for them, it will look like you’ve had too much to drink and this could be noted in the police report.
2) You will likely be asked to take field tests.
Field tests for DUI are usually walking a straight line, touching a finger to your nose, counting on your fingers, saying your ABCs backwards, holding your leg up while counting, or following a light with your eyes. When you comply with field tests, you could be giving evidence that will be used against you. There is no law requiring you do such tests. Some officers will tell you they will take you to jail if you don’t do the tests. They were going to take you to jail anyway, so politely refuse.
3) You may be asked for your permission to search your vehicle.
If you are asked to do this, politely explain that you will not agree to a search of your car. If an officer wants to search your car without your permission, they need a warrant. If you tell them yes, they can search without that warrant.
4) You may be asked to answer additional questions.
When stopped on suspicion of a DUI, officers usually ask questions about what you’ve had to drink and then move on to additional questions later. Always respond “I can only answer your questions on the advice of my attorney.” There is no need for you to call an attorney at that time. However, such a statement should stop any further questioning by invoking your constitutional rights. Even if your Miranda rights are read to you, the answer should still be the same.
5) You may be required to take a breath, blood or urine test.
Most drivers do not know that when they were issued a driver’s license, they agreed to take breath, blood, or urine tests if they were ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. This is called the Implied Consent Law. If a driver does not take the test, their license will be suspended for a minimum of one year, even if they are not convicted of DUI.
It is critical to note that if a driver takes the test and the reading is greater than .08%, their license will be suspended for 30 to 90 days.
After the investigation on the street, the officer will usually take you to the station or to a testing site. Some cities will offer you a blood test, others will offer a breath test. Always try to get the blood test if possible. If your test shows your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be less than .08%, you may not be charged. If you are, you might be able to later have the case dismissed.
If your BAC is .08% to .14%, you will be charged with DUI, and DUI with a BAC over .08%. If your BAC is .15% or more, you will be charged with DUI, DUI with BAC over .08%, and Extreme DUI.
6) You may be asked if you want to preserve your DUI test sample.
After completing the test, the officer may give you a form that asks whether you want to preserve a sample of your test or waive a sample. Always ask that a sample be retained. Additionally, as soon as you are released from police custody, arrange to have your own blood or urine test done immediately. If your own test shows a lower BAC, you could possible use it in your case if it is done within an appropriate time frame.
7) You could lose your license.
If you have been stopped for a DUI there is a good chance you could lose your license if you don’t ask for a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Division within fifteen days. A police officer will give you a form when they take your license. If they do not, you can ask for the proper form. The Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit will have a paragraph which tells you how to request the proper hearing.
8) If you are stopped for a DUI, find an experienced attorney ASAP.
If you are charged with DUI, you are not required to hire an attorney. Sometimes the court will appoint one for you if you have limited financial resources. We suggest you hire a qualified attorney you trust. A good attorney will personally appear in court on your behalf, interview the officer, gather records, prepare motions, and negotiate with the prosecutor, and keep you informed about the progress of your case.
NOTE: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a complete and comprehensive list of what could happen if you are stopped for a DUI. Nothing in the article should be construed as legal advice. Readers should always seek advice from a qualified and licensed legal professional for all legal issues or DUI questions.
At the Weingart Firm, we make it our personal goal to provide each and every DUI client with exceptional services. If you or someone you know has recently been stopped for a DUI, contact our firm today without delay. Every minute that you wait could be used to develop an effective defense for your DUI case. Our skilled lawyers know Arizona DUI law and will work to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call our offices for a no-obligation consultation now.