What Happens if you Get a DUI in Arizona?


Getting arrested for a DUI in Arizona is not a pleasant process. Typically, a DUI arrest begins after a driver is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, after which the officer will ask them for their license, proof of insurance, and registration. Even if you’re nervous at this point in time, attempt to hold your composure as the officer will likely closely observe how you obtain these items to check your sobriety.

What Else Will the Officer Look for?

After an officer pulls over a driver for suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will look for signs of intoxication.

These signs include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Odors of alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Watery eyes

If the officer detects any of the above signs, he or she will likely ask if you have been drinking. Regardless of what you answer—it is suggested that you omit any information that is not required—the officer will likely ask you to step out of the car if they suspect that you are intoxicated.

Again, no matter how nervous you are, try and keep your composure as you step out of the vehicle as the officer will observe whether or not you have trouble doing so.

Sobriety Tests

Once you are out of your vehicle, you may be asked to complete one or more sobriety tests. If you are asked to complete a field sobriety test, it is highly recommended that you refuse as even sober drivers may have trouble successfully completing this test. Arizona law only requires a driver to complete one sobriety test to avoid license suspension.

You may also be asked to complete a preliminary breathalyzer test (PBT) to register your BAC. The results of a preliminary breathalyzer test cannot be used against you in a court of law, but can only be used to aid in your arrest. However, if you refuse both the field sobriety and the PBT, you will be arrested and taken into custody.  This does not mean that you will be convicted of a DUI.

The Arrest

The officer may handcuff your hands behind your back before asking you to sit in the back seat of their vehicle. Usually, this is done to ensure that you don’t try and force yourself to vomit prior to taking the breathalyzer or blood test once you’re at the precinct or mobile DUI van.

DUI Processing Site

Once you are taken to either a precinct or mobile DUI van, the officer will likely begin asking you questions. You can choose to remain silent or ask to speak with an attorney. Again, it is recommended that you omit any information that you are not obligated to give; after giving the officer your driver’s license, registration, and insurance, you are not obligated to release any additional information.

Breathalyzer or Blood Test

At this point, you will likely be administered a breathalyzer or blood test. The results of this breathalyzer test can be used as evidence against you in court. If you refuse both of these tests, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year, regardless of whether or not you’re convicted of a DUI.

Jail or Release

After you have submitted to at least one sobriety test, you will typically be allowed release and you can either have a sober friend or cab pick you up. However, if certain circumstances apply—warrant for your arrest, aggravating conduct with the police officer, failure to provide identification—you may be booked into jail.

What Now?

Immediately after you are released, it is recommended that you obtain experienced legal representation to defend you against the prosecution in court. Retaining a dedicated DUI defense lawyer can have countless benefits, especially if your BAC registered below the legal limit.

Get the DUI Defense You Need with JacksonWhite

If you were arrested for a DUI in Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Tucson, or another AZ city, the criminal defense lawyers at JacksonWhite can work to decrease your fines and avoid license suspension and incarceration.


Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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