Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Arizona?
You are driving home after a busy day at work and you see a police car signaling you to pull over. The law enforcement officer presents you with a Breathalyzer and tells you that you have to take a breath test. Should you consent to it or refuse?
Unfortunately, you do not have a legal standing under DUI Arizona laws. Our state uses the Implied Consent principle, as defined in Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1321. What does it mean? Practically, in the moment when you accept your driver’s license and sign your name on it, you also give your consent to taking a breath alcohol test any time.
Failure to Take a Breathalyzer Test Has Severe Consequences
All criminal defense attorneys agree that DUI Arizona law is among the harshest in all US states. Even a standard DUI sentence (for blood alcohol level in excess of 0.08) carries a mandatory prison sentence of up to 10 days and a suspension of your driver’s license for 3 months to 1 year.
Refusing to take a breath alcohol test also carries stiff penalties. The first immediate consequence is that you get your driver’s license suspended for one year. However, you will receive a restricted driver’s license, valid for only 15 days.
Nevertheless, if you rely on your car to get to and from work, this is a most serious inconvenience.
You Can Still Be Tested for Alcohol Consumption under DUI Arizona Law
Unfortunately, your problems do not stop here. The law enforcement officers can apply for a warrant, which will be quickly granted. This means that they can arrest you and you have to submit to a blood or urine test. According to DUI Arizona law, you really cannot find a way to refuse taking these tests.
Depending on your test results, you may be charged with standard, extreme or aggravated DUI. Extreme DUI is the charge if your BAC level is between 0.15 and 0.20. Aggravated DUI, the most severe charge of this type, is often applicable if:
- Your BAC level is in excess of 0.20
- You have a minor under the age of 15 in your car
- You are driving while your license is suspended, revoked or canceled.
Getting Your Driving Privileges Reinstated
Assuming there are no other legal consequences (you had not a BAC level above 0.08), your 1-year license suspension remains valid. However, you may apply for a reinstatement of your driving privileges under DUI Arizona law after 90 days. If your application is granted, you still need to install a Certified Ignition Interlock Device for the period up to 1 year since your license was suspended.
You will have to cover all the costs in this respect:
- The price of the device and the installation fee
- Monitoring fee
- Maintenance and inspection fees.
These extra expenses can total hundreds of dollars for the entire penalty period.
Repeated Refusal to take a Breath Alcohol Test
Unfortunately, trying to fight the system is not a smart decision, as repeat offenders get even harsher penalties. Thus, if you refuse a Breathalyzer within 7 years after the first offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for 2 years.
Moreover the legal consequences of doing so will remain on your record and any current or future employer will know about these issues. The best policy is to know exactly how much alcohol you can drink without exceeding the legal threshold under DUI Arizona law.
Did You Fail a Breathalyzer Test? We Can Help Build Your Defense!
You should not go through the legal proceedings according to DUI Arizona law alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will represent you and fight to have the charges reduced as much as possible.