Your Stopped for DUI... Now What?
You've gone out after work for a couple drinks, out for dinner with your spouse or hit the local nightspot. Now while driving home, you notice those flashing blue lights behind you. In a panic, you pull to the side of the road, the officer approaches and asks the dreaded question, "have you had anything to drink?"
DUI Enforcement in Arizona
Undoubtedly, drunk driving is a serious problem in the greater Phoenix area. Every year many people are injured or killed in accidents caused by drivers who are drunk or impaired by illegal or prescription drugs. While I certainly don't condone drunk driving, my goal is to prevent you from incurring the jail time, huge fines, loss of drivers license and other penalties which accompany a DUI arrest. Certainly, Arizona imposes some of the harshest punishment in the country against people convicted of drunk driving. The following serves as a guide if you have the misfortune of being investigated for DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix or other Arizona cities.
What You Should Do if Stopped:
- Be Polite - There is no sense in arguing with the investigating officer. In fact, you can rest assured the alcohol influence report written by the officer will note that you were belligerent, antagonistic or stuporous if you attempted to argue with or talk your way out of a DUI. Things go much better at trial if we can elicit sympathy for you in front of a jury by having the arresting officer testify that you were polite, respectful and cooperative. Simply provide your license, registration and insurance without creating additional problems for yourself.
Don't Participate in Roadside Tests - If you are suspected of drunk driving in Arizona, the investigating officer will ask to test your eyes, have you walk heel to toe on a straight line, stand on one leg or perform other physical tests. These are commonly referred to as field sobriety tests. You should be aware, the tests are completely voluntary. Moreover, they are very subjective and you can make mistakes due to nerves, physical limitations, not being familiar with the directions or alcohol consumption. Of course, the police and prosecutors will point to your mistakes as evidence that you were impaired by alcohol or drugs. There is no reason to provide evidence which will be used against you later on. You should politely refuse to participate in any physical tests.
- Request to Speak with a Lawyer - The law provides that anyone suspected of DUI has the right to privately consult with an attorney before participating in a blood, breath or urine test. An attorney can provide invaluable advice about obtaining an independent test, gathering exculpatory evidence, etc. You should request to contact a lawyer immediately upon being stopped or arrested for DUI
- Remain Silent - You will be asked a number of questions about your alcohol consumption, how you felt while driving, the date, time, day of week, etc. These questions are all aimed at getting information from you which will later be used to prosecute you for DUI. After providing your license, registration and insurance, simply tell the officer you would like to exercise your right to remain silent.
- Blood, Breath or Urine Tests - Unless you are being investigated for a second DUI offense, felony aggravated DUI, Aggravated Assault or DUI involving a serious injury or death, it is usually in your best interests to participate in the chemical testing requested by the officer. If you refuse, police will likely apply for and obtain a court order to draw your blood anyway. Additionally, you will be subjected to one year revocation of your driving privileges if the officer notifies MVD of your refusal to take a test. Of course, you should still ask to consult with a lawyer prior to taking any breath, blood or urine tests in Arizona following a DUI arrest
Certainly, this serves as a general guide to follow if you are suspected of DUI in Arizona. Of course, every case is different and you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are fully protected. Certainly, drunk driving cases are very complex and require representation from an attorney who regularly practices DUI defense in Arizona. I have represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years who have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert or Tempe, Arizona, call (480) 833-8613 for a free consultation.
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