If you’re arrested for driving under the influence, the investigation of your DUI doesn’t end there. The police officer will usually ask you to perform a urine, breath, or blood test to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content). You can refuse to take the test, but this will likely result in a license suspension.
Arizona has strict DUI laws and harsh penalties for people who drive under the influence in the state. Jail time, high fines, and a permanent mark on your record are some of the consequences you might face. Many people mistakenly think that you can’t receive a DUI conviction without performing a blood or breathalyzer test. But you can still get a conviction based on other evidence, even if you don’t comply with the test.
DUI Laws in Arizona
- Arizona has some of the harshest DUI penalties in the entire country, including mandatory jailtime
- If you refuse to take a blood, urine, or breath test, you can still receive a DUI based on other factors
- Operating a motor vehicle in the state means that it’s implied you will consent to such a test
- Refusing to take a test can result in a license suspension
- Working with an attorney is essential if you’ve been accused of driving under the influence
According to state law, it’s illegal to drive if you’re impaired by any drug, intoxicating liquor, vapor-releasing substance, or combination of any of these. Even if you don’t necessarily feel impaired, you can still receive a conviction. This applies if you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more from alcohol consumed within two hours of being in physical control of or driving a vehicle.
Some states separate “driving under the influence” and “driving while intoxicated,” but Arizona law considers them the same crime. Whether you’re driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, or you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more within two hours of driving, you may face severe consequences.
Blood, Urine, and Breathalyzer Tests
Law enforcement officers may choose to administer a few different tests to determine your level of impairment. According to state law, when you operate a motor vehicle, it’s implied that you consent to such a test. A breathalyzer test uses the air in your lungs to determine your BAC, while a blood test looks at your bloodstream and a urine test determines how much alcohol is in your stomach.
Ways You can Receive a Conviction without a Blood or Breath Test
Arizona law allows someone to receive a DUI charge without a chemical test. Witness testimony (including a statement from a police officer) might be used to convict you of the crime. A witness may testify about your slurred speech, erratic driving, your attitude or demeanor when stopped, a strong alcohol smell, and open containers in your car, among other factors.
Consequences of a DUI Charge
Penalties for driving under the influence include receiving a felony charge, facing large fines, a license suspension, time in jail, and even the possibility of losing the right to carry a firearm or vote.
Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge in Arizona
An experienced criminal defense lawyer might be able to find many different potential defenses for a DUI charge. These include the way a sobriety test was given, the officer’s reason for arresting you, or the accuracy of a breathalyzer or blood test. The state is responsible for proving that you had control of or were driving the vehicle. If no witnesses are available to give a testimony about who was driving, the prosecution may be unable to prove this.
If an officer can’t explain why they reasonably suspected that a crime was occurring, about to occur, or already had occurred, their evidence regarding your intoxication might be suppressed. In order to arrest you, an officer must have probable cause, such as objective circumstances or facts that would lead a reasonable individual to decide a crime is under way. If the police officer only had a hunch rather than legitimate probable cause, the court may dismiss your case.
Frequently Asked Questions on DUI Charges
Here are some common queries regarding DUI charges in Arizona:
Q: What happens if I refuse to take a sobriety test?
As mentioned, you can refuse a test, but you may receive a license suspension in addition to other penalties if you do. And even if you refuse the test, the officer can still investigate your BAC through other means, such as a search warrant that authorizes a blood test. For your refusal to comply to a test, you may receive an “order of suspension” that leads to a license suspension 15 days after your arrest date.
Q: How long do I have to wait before I can get my license back?
The officer will take your permit or license immediately if you refuse to take a sobriety test. For a first refusal, you’ll get a 12-month suspension period, and you’ll receive 24 months for a subsequent refusal if it’s in the following 7-year period. You will have to wait the full 12 or 24-month period and prove that you completed a drug or alcohol screening before you can get your license back.
Q: Will I have to go to jail if I get a DUI charge in Arizona?
If you’re arrested for a DUI, you will have to go to jail. How long you’ll be in jail will depend on your criminal history, whether or not you’ve had a DUI before, your blood alcohol concentration, and the details regarding your case. If it’s your first offense, the mandatory jail period is a minimum of 24 hours.
What to Do if You’re Facing DUI Charges in Arizona
A DUI charge is extremely serious according to Arizona law and can impact your future financially, personally, and professionally. It’s imperative that you speak with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of driving under the influence. They will help you decide whether to plead guilty, request a jury trial, or try to plea bargain to get lesser penalties.