The first questions people often have after being arrested for a DUI in Arizona is how much jail time will I have to serve, what are the fines and will I lose my job? In most cases, people are given a summons and ordered to appear in court weeks or even months in the future. Consequently, on elf the first things a person should address are the steps require to protect against a nearly immediate suspension or revocation of their Arizona Drivers License.
Arizona Implied Consent Law:
Arizona law (A.R.S 28-1321) requires you to take a blood, breath, or urine test if you are arrested for DUI. Arizona's “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).
If you are arrested and refuse a blood, breath or urine test, the officer will seize your license and file a notice with the Motor Vehicle Division that will result in the suspension of your license or for a minimum of twelve months. Failure to expressly agree to or complete the test will be treated as a refusal. As a last ditch resort, officers will read a "No Further Delay Warning" which gives you one last opportunity to take the test and avoid a potential one year suspension. If this is the second time you have refused a test after a DUI arrest, your license will be subject to a two year revocation.
Once you refuse to take the test, the officer who arrested you will demand that you surrender your license. You will, however, get a temporary driving permit that is good for fifteen days. The arresting officer must file a sworn affidavit with MVD explaining that he or she had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence, that you refused to take the test, and you were warned of the consequences of refusal.
In order to avoid an automatic one or two year suspension following a refusal, you must request an administrative hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division in writing or online within fifteen days of receiving a notice of suspension. At the hearing, arresting officer must appear and show that he had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence, the circumstances of the arrest, your refusal to take the test, and whether you knew the consequences of a refusal. You can also present evidence to fight the suspension. After the hearing, the suspension of your license will either be upheld or vacated.
If this is your first refusal, the suspension will last a year. After you have completed ninety consecutive days of your suspension, you can request a special, ignition-interlock license that, if granted would allow you to drive with a breathalyzer device on your car for the remaining nine months.
Admin Per Se Suspension:
Even if you cooperate with the arresting officer and consent to a blood, breath or urine test, your license is still subject to a potential 90 day suspension (A.R.S 28-1385). Officers may seize your license and issue the suspension immediately (that pink piece of paper), as is cases of a breath test, or wait for the results of a blood or urine test, report the results to Arizona MVD and ask that a suspension notice be issued.
Once you receive a notice of 90 day suspension, you still have fifteen days to request a hearing. When represented by an attorney, the hearing can fulfill many purposes including, evaluating the experience of the arresting officer as well as his investigation and allowing the suspension to begin when it may be a bit more convenient for you. At the hearing, an attorney can question the officer regarding his reasons for stopping you, any signs and symptoms of alcohol consumption or impairment he observed, the administration of field sobriety tests and the procedures used to obtain your breath, blood or urine sample. The suspension can usually be delayed for up to thirty days following the hearing. Also, after the first thirty days of the suspension, you may be eligible for a restricted drivers license. This license allows you to drive to work and school and can be obtained simply by completing an alcohol screening session. You are not eligible for a restricted drivers license if you have previous DUI, implied consent or admin per se suspensions on your record. At the end of the 90 day suspension period, you must pay a small license reinstatement fee to MVD.
In most cases, the suspension will be upheld or alternatively, it would be in your best interests to permit the suspension to go into effect. This is because if you are ultimately convicted of a DUI, a 90 day suspension will automatically go into effect, unless you previously served the Admin Per Se suspension. If you did not, you will be required to post an SR-22 bond to re-instate your driving privileges.