Understanding Arizona's Implied Consent Law
If law enforcement stops you for driving under the influence (DUI), they will request a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Under Arizona's implied consent law, there are penalties for refusing this test. It's important to understand this law so you know the consequences for not submitting to a breathalyzer or other alcohol test.
ARS 28-1321 and DUI Stop Procedure
Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-1321 states that anyone operating a vehicle in the State of Arizona consents to blood, breath, or urine tests for alcohol or drugs. This applies if the person is arrested for being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while under the influence.
If you refuse the test, the law enforcement officer must inform you that you will face a license suspension of 12 months for doing so. If this is your second refusal in seven years, the suspension will be for two years.
Can Police Conduct a Test Without Your Consent?
Even if you refuse to submit to chemical tests, the police officer will likely be able to obtain a warrant to conduct one. The requirements for this are the same as those for a search warrant: the officer must establish probable cause.
Keep in mind that the officer will need to have probable cause for an arrest. As a result, they will likely be able to obtain a warrant very quickly. Modern technology allows them to complete this process digitally and once they have a warrant, they can conduct the test even if you refused initially.
Even if the test eventually occurs, you will still be subject to the 12-month suspension for refusing.
Can You Challenge a License Suspension?
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) imposes the license suspension for refusing an alcohol or drug test. Within 15 days of the arrest, you may request a hearing to challenge the suspension.
In order to uphold the suspension, the officer who arrested you must prove that:
If any of the above were not true, the hearing officer may overturn the suspension. Otherwise, you have 30 days to file an appeal.
Keep in mind that this is separate from any criminal case in regard to your DUI. Even if a court finds you not guilty or your DUI charges are dismissed, you will still have to deal with the license suspension for refusing the test.
- They had reasonable grounds (reasonable suspicion) to stop you and have probable cause for a DUI arrest.
- You refused the test.
- The officer gave you the required warning that refusing the test would result in a license suspension.
- The officer gave you an order of suspension with notice of your right to request a hearing.
What to Do After a DUI Arrest
Being arrested for DUI is an overwhelming experience. It can be challenging to determine what your next steps should be. If you refused an alcohol or drug test, you will also need to determine how to handle your license suspension. At DUI Defense Team, we can help you navigate the complexities of your case and will fight to achieve the best possible outcome.
If you are facing DUI charges, contact us today for a free consultation.