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Can I Refuse a Sobriety Test?

Posted on August 15, 2019 in assault & violent crimes

The state of Arizona operates under the law of implied consent, which means that individuals who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI will be required to take a blood, breath or urine test upon arrest. Assuming that the individual is lawfully arrested by a law enforcement officer who displayed no malicious intent at the time the arrest was made, the driver will be automatically assumed to consent to taking a chemical test.

Drivers who refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test at the time they are arrested on suspicion of DUI in Arizona will be required to surrender their driver’s license to the law enforcement officer handling their case. In consequence, the officer will file a report on the matter, inevitably resulting in state suspension of the driver’s license or permit for no fewer than 12 months; and this is only for first-time offenders. In the event that you are pulled over, it’s important to have an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney on your side.

What Happens After I Refuse a Test?

As detailed above, a driver who expressly refuses to submit to a chemical test of his or her intoxication level will be automatically required to submit their license to the arresting officer, at which time the license will be suspended. The same consequences can be in store for persons who do not necessarily refuse the test, but fail to expressly agree to its completion.

At the time that your driver’s license is suspended, you will be issued a temporary driving permit that will remain valid for only 15 days. Failure to take legal action within this time period could result in long-term suspension/revocation of your license. The consequences you could face for refusing to submit to a DUI test will depend on whether or not the offense is your first.

Persons who refuse the test for the first time will be subjected to license suspension for up to one year. Ninety consecutive days of this yearlong suspension must be completed before you can request that an ignition interlock license be provided. Persons who refuse the test for a second time within seven years will have their license suspended for a total of two years.

Will My License Be Suspended?

After you driver’s license has been suspended in the state of Arizona, you can expect to receive a notification of the suspension that will also include forms that can be used to challenge the suspension. Challenging your driver’s license suspension must be done on line within 15 days of the date that the suspension was sent. Individuals also have the option of submitting a written request in writing for this hearing.

At your hearing, you will be given the opportunity to discuss whether or not the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe that you were operating your vehicle under the influence. Also worth discussing at your hearing are concerns such as the circumstances under which the arrest was made; your refusal of the test; and whether or not you were made aware of the consequences for refusing to take the test. If the hearing goes well, the suspension of your license will be rescinded; if the hearing does not go well, your driver’s license suspension will be confirmed.

Is Refusing the Test a Good Idea?

In most situations, refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test when you are arrested on suspicion of DUI will not serve you favorably. In the state of Arizona, however, the consequences for refusing a DUI test are less harsh than those incurred upon an actual conviction for intoxicated driving. Unfortunately, refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test does not automatically mean that you will not be convicted, making a refusal somewhat risky in nature.

In some cases, the prosecution can use a defendant’s refusal to submit to a DUI test as evidence against him or her, ultimately arguing that the refusal should be taken as an indication of the driver’s intoxication. When this method of argument is utilized, it can be difficult — but not impossible — to defend you in court. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have an aggressive and experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer on your side if you choose to pursue this route.

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