Does Arizona Required You Complete a Breath Test?
Arizona has an implied consent law, which requires that you submit to either a breath, urine, or blood test if you are arrested for an alleged DUI. The implied consent law says that if a police officer has reason to believe that you have been operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are to complete a breath test and consent to taking a test of your urine or blood in order to determine if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit. The arresting officer is allowed to decide which of these chemical tests you take.
Even if you are not driving, you might be asked to submit to the test. If you have what is considered to be actual or physical control of a vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer can have sufficient reason to place you under arrest and require you to complete a breath test and take a chemical test to determine BAC. In this case, to have physical control means that the car’s ignition is on and you could put it into operation or move it. As an example, you might realize that you are too intoxicated and you pull your car to the side of the road to sleep it off. When you do this, you leave the motor running to keep the heater or air conditioning on. An officer notices your parked car on the side of the road, wakes you, smells alcohol on your breath, and then arrests you for DUI.
Arizona law requires that you be given the test within two hours of when you were last operating the vehicle. If you have been charged with DUI and you refuse to take the test, the officer will require you to surrender your driver’s license and will file a report that will cause the state to suspend your license for a minimum of 12 months if it is your first offense for this. If you change your mind and agree to take the test, you need to tell the officer so you can be tested and you won’t face the consequences of your initial refusal. Failure to agree to undergo the test or failure to complete a breath test will be treated as a refusal of the test.
What Happens When I Refuse To Take The Test?
In the event that you refuse to take the chemical test, you will turn your driver’s license over to the officer who arrested you. The state law requires that you are provided with a temporary driving permit that is valid for a 15-day time frame. The officer is required to make what is called a “sworn report” that explains why there were grounds for him or her to believe that you were driving over the legal limit, that you were asked to take the chemical test and refused, and that you were warned of the consequences of refusing to take the test.
For a first refusal, the penalty is a one-year license suspension. After completing 90 consecutive days of the suspension, you can request a special license that requires you to use an ignition interlock device. If you are approved for this license, you would keep it the remainder of your suspension period. For second or subsequent refusals to take the test within a seven-year period, you will face a two-year suspension of your driver’s license. After the state has suspended your license, you must be notified and you will be sent a form so you can challenge the suspension. To challenge the suspension, in writing you will request a hearing within 15 days of the date of the notice.
At the hearing, you can discuss if the officer who made the arrest had reason to believe you were driving while drunk, all of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you being asked to take the test and then refusing to submit to the test, and whether or not you knew the consequences of refusing the test. Your license suspension will either be rescinded or confirmed after the hearing. If you are facing such a situation, you should consult with an Arizona DUI attorney right away.