Arizona Cracks Down on Drunk Drivers

What should I do if I am pulled over on suspicion of DUI?

During this past Halloween weekend, DUI arrests in Arizona topped 360, according to data released by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  While the total number of arrests is actually down from last year, likely due to a shorter Halloween weekend from the previous year, there were more arrests made per day.  In total, 91 people were arrested each day in the state of Arizona and over 12,000 stops were made. Law enforcement presence was said to be heightened from previous years, representing the state’s overall harsh stance towards drivers who take to the roadway while intoxicated.  In the event you are stopped for a DUI in Arizona, review our Phoenix DUI defense attorney’s tips on what to do below.

Steps to Take if You Have Been Pulled Over for a DUI

Seeing flashing lights in your rear view mirror is enough to send any driver into a panic.  If you ever find yourself being pulled over on suspicion of a DUI it is important to keep calm and clearheaded.  Follow these steps:

  1. Pull over in a safe location and be polite:  You should never resist the stop, as doing so may result in serious punishment. Instead, you will want to find a safe place to pullover whenever possible.  Remember that at this point the officer will be closely observing your behavior, so do not behave erratically. You will want to avoid making any sudden or suspicious movements once the officer has pulled you over. Remain polite and obey the officer’s requests for your driver’s license, registration, and insurance.
  2. Do not incriminate yourself:  The officer will likely question you as to whether you have consumed alcohol.  It is generally best to simply refuse to answer this question. You can state something to the effect that you have been advised not to answer any questions.  At times, it is fine to admit to a drink or two, but doing so comes with risks. If in doubt, simply do not answer and call an attorney as soon as possible.
  3. Consider refusing the field sobriety test and roadside breathalyzer:  Field sobriety tests are one of the law enforcement officer’s best tools to collect evidence of your intoxication. Refusing to submit to the testing could result in suspension of your driver’s license, but submitting to the requests could give the evidence the state needs to convict you.  Similarly, roadside breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable. Breathalyzer test results could ultimately influence your conviction, but refusing will require suspension of your license. Know your options and consider in advance what your best course of action would be if stopped for a DUI.
  4. Take the chemical test at the station:  Per Arizona law, when you get your driver’s license, you impliedly consent to a chemical test if requested by an officer who has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated.  As such, you will usually need to submit to either a blood, urine, or breath test after your arrest. Should you refuse, the officer will seek a warrant. Generally, it is best to comply with one of the chemical tests, knowing you can still challenge the results or the lack of probable cause later.  Breath tests are known to have flaws and electing to take this test could give you additional grounds for a later legal challenge, while an accurate blood test may clear your name if you are under the legal limit. Weigh your options and select what you believe to be the wisest choice.

Anyone who has been arrested for a DUI will want to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.  Your lawyer will take action immediately to effectively defend against the charges you face.