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Are Drivers Required to Submit to Field Sobriety Testing?

The answer to the question do you have to submit to a field sobriety or breathalyzer test in Arizona, is No. Many would ask if I had not been drinking or I am not impaired by drugs, why would I want to refuse a test and upset the police officer. First, some people would consider this as harassment or an invasion of privacy if they are stopped at a checkpoint or when an officer believes he has probable cause to stop you.

The field sobriety test is what a police officer would ask a suspect to do alongside the road.  The three most common field sobriety tests are the walk and turn, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

There several physiological factors that could affect a subject’s performance, including:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Health
  • Physical fitness
  • Eyesight
  • Fatigue
  • Weather conditions, particularly high winds
  • Slippery road surfaces
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Anxiety

Many of these conditions would make the test deceptive even for a completely sober person. Some people are just intimidated by people in authority. These are some of the reasons that Arizona courts will not allow or admit into evidence the results of these field sobriety tests.

The Field Breathalyzer Test

As stated in Arizona, you may also refuse a roadside breathalyzer test. As long as you are not rude and state your objections succinctly the officer should have no reason to get upset. It is your right. Many police officers use these field methods to observe a person they suspect of driving while impaired or under the influence. If you refuse a field sobriety test or breathalyzer and the officer still suspects or has probable cause to believe you are impaired, they will arrest you and take a chemical test, which you cannot refuse. Of course, you may take the position that you will be on your way quicker if you take the breathalyzer and go on your way.

Actions After Arrest

The actions you take after an arrest for suspected Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are more important than if you took and failed a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. The most important action is to contact a DUI defense attorney at the first opportunity. Setting on the incident will only make things worst. You have just 15 days to notify the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) of your intent to dispute a suspension of your driving privileges via an Administrative Per Se Hearing or one of the others. This hearing is informal and only looks at a few variable, was you in control of your vehicle, did you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above the legal limit, was the chemical test administered properly, and which are you facing: DWI, DUI, an Extreme DWI, or an Aggravated DUI charge. There’s also an Implied consent hearing, which is usually for defendants who refused the chemical test, and a Negligent Operators Hearing, normally scheduled to determine if a license suspension is required due to the defendant reaching or exceeding the required points combined with past offenses. Although these hearings are informal, these are very important to possibly preclude a driver’s license suspension.

Why Matthew Lopez, PLLC?

Matthew Lopez and his team of criminal defense attorneys represent clients out of their offices in Tempe and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This may sound cliché, but their number one priority is to see that your rights are protected and you receive a fair trial. What many people do not understand is that our Constitution guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial and legal representation.

When you have been arrested for DUI, you need solid legal representation you can count on. Whether you were arrested in Phoenix, Tempe, Lake Havasu, Scottsdale or any city or town in between you can call the Havasu City or Tempe office and reach prompt professional legal advice and assistance. We will provide you with a no obligation, FREE consultation, which is strictly confidential and will outline the specifics of your case. Even if you failed a field sobriety test and breathalyzer test, we will make sure those are not used in court. The only test that matters is the chemical test that measures Blood Alcohol Content and the presence of drugs that may have impaired your driving. A BAC of less than .08 percent and an absence of drugs or medications, which could have impaired your driving, should convince any judge that the police officer made a mistake and you are not guilty. We will ensure your rights are protected no matter what the circumstances of your arrest were. To request your free consultation, fill out our convenient contact form.

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