Interviewer: In a situation where someone has a DUI, they go through the counseling, and they do a good job, how long would it take for them to get that off their record? Can they get it off their record? Or sealed?
Brian Sloan: I think it’ll always be there. It can always be seen, if someone were to ever get in trouble subsequent to this incident. I think the only way that it’s really going to be used against a person is if they get that same charge of driving while under the age of 21 and alcohol in the system. Is it something that might be known to a prosecutor, if someone were to subsequently get charged with a DUI? That’s not really going to have much of an impact.
Interviewer: Do you think that there are some certain things that, during a trial, or judges that would appear that they may be a little more lenient here and there? Are there things that judges prefer to see typically in an under-21 case? Some certain standard or certain guidelines that they’d like? You mentioned counseling earlier. Diversion programs, something of that nature … Is that something that judges and juries like to see?
Brian Sloan: I think judges want to see the same thing from people under the age of 21 as they want to see from people over the age of 21. They want to see that people have taken responsibility for their actions that they have realized the issues in their lifestyle, and they’ve started counseling before the court ordered or an attorney suggested them to do it.
I think that prosecutors and judges do pay attention to when that counseling started. Did it start within a few days after the arrest, or did it start maybe a few weeks or a month after the arrest, which maybe gives the prosecutor and the judge the idea that it is probably at the attorney’s request that someone got into counseling.
Generally speaking, I think it’s always beneficial for somebody to get into counseling, whether it was their personal decision or a family decision, or whether an attorney advised them to get into counseling. There is no downfall in getting someone into counseling.
Breath and Blood Test Refusals
Interviewer: Let’s talk handling cases with chemical test refusals. Is it legal to refuse a Breathalyzer or Blood test?
Brian Sloan: There is no law. Technically a person can refuse a blood test. There are consequences for those actions. In Arizona, as with every other state, driving is a privilege, not a right. Under Arizona law, there is a presumption that a person will consent to a blood, breath, or urine test at the request of an officer.
If a person chooses not to do that, then that person’s license to drive is going to be automatically suspended for 1 year. If someone does consent to the blood, breath, and/or urine test requested by the officer, that person may have their license suspended for 90 days for being suspected of DUI. The 90 days for being suspected of DUI is a lot better than 1 year for refusing.
If someone does refuse, an officer will likely write up a warrant and submit it to a judge. If the judge finds that there’s probable cause to believe that the person was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, vapor-releasing substances, or combination thereof, then the judge can order that a warrant is issued. The person can then be forced to submit to a blood draw. Officers can use force, if necessary, to extract that blood. They’re still going to have to deal with that 1-year license suspension for refusing the blood test in the first place.