If you are driving on a Friday and Saturday night and are being pulled over, you need to be prepared for an immediate Arizona DUI investigation. Because weekends are synonymous with people blowing off steam from a long work week, police are heavily patrolling for anyone who may be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
What The Law Really Means
It is important for people to know that it is not illegal to drink and drive. When I am representing clients at trial, this is one of the first things I remind jurors of. In Arizona, and throughout the US, a person can drink and drive without breaking any laws. What is illegal is for a person to have at least a .08 blood alcohol content while driving or within two hours of driving. The issue is, what does a .08 feel like? In reality, a .08 is going to affect everyone differently. Contributing factors include a person’s weight, height, age, medical conditions and tolerance. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether you are over the legal limit. If you have ingested any amount of alcohol and are being pulled over, you need to be concerned and know your rights.
What You Should Know About Being Pulled Over
- The first thing the officer is looking for is whether your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired. As soon as you see overhead lights, look for a safe place to pull over and use your indicator to smoothly pull over in a manner that follows all driving rules.
- Have your hands on the 10 and 2 position of the steering wheel and turn your radio off. When the office approaches your vehicle, present him with your license, registration and proof of insurance.
- When the officer asks if you have been drinking, politely respond “no.” Don’t fall into an officer’s trap of admitting to consuming alcohol. This will only be used against you. Officers don’t believe anyone when they say they’ve only had a “couple.” Clients tell me all the time they had a “couple” and their blood comes back well above the legal limit.
- Don’t engage in small talk with the officer. The more you talk, the more opportunity the officer has to smell your breath for alcohol or observe slurred speech.
What People Need To Be Aware Of
When the officer orders you out of the car to complete field sobriety tests, politely tell him that you are not willing to participate in the tests. Field sobriety tests are designed for people to fail. Officers don’t have dash cameras and are banking on the fact that you will not have a lawyer to challenge your Arizona DUI. They will say that you failed each one of the tests.
- Here is the single most important tip, DO NOT BLOW INTO A PORTABLE BREATH TEST. A breathalyzer only gives police officers probable cause to arrest you. Do not forget this tip. People tell me all the time that they thought you had to blow. YOU DON’T.
If the officer believes he has probable cause to arrest for a DUI, you must consent to a breath or blood test ONLY AFTER YOU ARE ARRESTED. If you refuse, a warrant will be issued to draw your blood and you will lose your license for one year. After you are arrested, there is no upside to refusing.
Once you are released, call my office immediately. We may be able to direct you to a place to have your blood reexamined in an effort to establish inaccuracies with the State’s reading of your blood results.
This is a lot of information, if you would like a free DUI tip sheet call my office or email me at [email protected] and I will send you a small tip card to keep in your car or wallet.