Are You Required to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Arizona?

When it comes to DUI questions, there are always plenty of comments about breathalyzer tests. It seems like everyone has an opinion on whether or not a person has to, or should, submit to one. If you are not familiar with the rules for breathalyzer tests, you should be.

By simply having a driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle in Arizona, you are giving “implied consent? to submit to a number of tests to determine whether or not you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes a breath, blood, or urine test to determine blood-alcohol content or to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system.

However, a case recently made its way to the Arizona Supreme Court that challenged the constitutionality of the implied consent requirement.

What Was The Case About?

In April 2016, Alexis Diaz was arrested and charged with DUI. According to documents, she was read her rights and consented to a breath test. When her case went to court, she argued that she had no choice “but to agree or lose her license so consent was not really voluntary and therefore her rights were violated.

The AZ Supreme Court judges did not agree with her assessment of the law. They said that because of the state law on implied consent, a law enforcement officer can get a blood or breath sample if a driver’s actions lead to a traffic stop.

Diaz’s case was not the only one before the court. They also looked at the case of Alfonso De Anda III. He took a blood test after his DUI arrest. Again, he was arrested and agreed to the test. In court, he too argued that consent was not voluntary. He also argued that his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated. The court again disagreed.

The Takeaway

Breathalyzer tests and other tests to determine a person’s blood-alcohol content are legal if the person has been arrested for DUI. When you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you will most likely be asked to submit to a breathalyzer. You can refuse the initial test. However, a refusal will result in the immediate suspension of your license for 12 months.

You should also know that a refusal to submit to testing does not mean that a test will not be completed anyway. An officer can ask a judge for a warrant to obtain breath, blood, or urine samples if you refuse. If there was an accident or injury involved in your DUI case, officers will almost certainly obtain a warrant for testing.

If you do submit to an initial test after a DUI arrest and blow over the legal .08 limit, your license will be suspended for at least 90 days.

Moving Forward After An Arrest

Being arrested for any DUI offense is scary, especially when you start to look at the penalties. In the immediate aftermath of an arrest, you need to secure a qualified and experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney to help you. Your attorney will examine your case and help determine the best path forward based on your charges, the facts of the case, as well as your past criminal history. There are many successful defenses for DUI charges and the ultimate goal will be to reduce the charges laid against you or get them thrown out altogether. For cases involving a breathalyzer, an attorney will almost always request documents pertaining to the machine used to determine whether or not it has been inspected, maintained, and regularly calibrated according to state law.

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