DUI laws are in place in Arizona and other states to prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking. In most states, the legal BAC limit for driving is 0.08%, as is the case in Arizona. Whether you are having a bad day, coming back from a party, or travelling during the holiday season, you can be stopped for DUI any time on the road. Make sure you read these tips and prepare yourself on how to handle a DUI stop.
When you are stopped by an officer, you must provide identification upon request. This will include your license and registration. Keep them at arm’s reach and do not fumble. Stay in your car unless asked to step out. Remember, the officer is observing everything you’re doing, how you’re talking, how you are searching for the documents, and how you are generally behaving.
Politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests
If the officer suspects you to be driving under the influence and asks you to step out of the car, he might ask you to take field sobriety tests such as walking the line, counting on your fingers, saying your ABCs, touching your finger to your nose etc.
In the state of Arizona, you can politely refuse to take the field tests. If the officer suspects that you are under the influence, they will take you to jail anyways. Taking the road-side tests will only give them more evidence against you. So remember not to do the tests as no law in Arizona requires drivers to do these tests.
Do not engage in any kind of conversation with the officer. They will try to ask you various questions which you can politely refuse to answer. If they specifically ask if you have been drinking, or where are you coming from, or where are you headed, it will be best to say that you would like to answer their questions on the advice of your attorney.
Refuse a vehicle search
The officer might want to look around and do a search of your vehicle. You can politely but firmly refuse them to search your car.
Cooperate with the officer
Being polite and cooperating with the officer is very important. The officer will notice your behavior and attitude during the stop. Your attitude, appearance, and words are all noted and they become part of the officer’s report. Don’t try and crack jokes, make fun, cry, or insult the officer. Don’t confess to anything either.
Take a blood or breath test
The state of Arizona has the Implied Consent Law whereby every driver is required to agree to take a breath, blood, or urine test when it is offered. Refusing to take these tests will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year, even if you were not intoxicated. If you take the test and read a 0.08% or more, your license will be suspended from 30 – 90 days.
Preserve a sample of the test
Once the test is complete, the officer will ask the driver whether they want their test result to be preserved or waived. Always ask to preserve the sample if given the choice. Never have it waived!
Get a test done after release
Immediately after your release, call your doctor to have your own test done immediately. You can also visit a lab or nearby hospital for that. If your BAC comes out to be lower, that information can be used as evidence in court. However, if it comes equal or higher than what was recorded earlier by the police, then you do not need to provide it to the prosecutor.
Request a hearing with the MVD
In order to avoid losing your license, you must request a hearing at the Motor Vehicle Division within 15 days.
Get in touch with an experienced attorney
You can hire an attorney to help you through the process. In case you do not hire one, the court will appoint one for you once you are charged with a DUI. An experienced attorney understands how to proceed with a case and they will also appear in court on your behalf, saving you a lot of trouble.