The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test is a topic that has always sparked a lot of interest anytime it comes up within a legal context. In Arizona, if you, or someone you know, is pulled over by the police and they believe you were driving under influence of alcohol – can you (and should you) refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, blood or urine test?

One reason this particular question always seems to stir up conversation is because the laws regarding your requirement to submit to an official BAC test can differ a great deal from state to state, so generalized information is not very helpful and can muddy the issue considerably. It is important for you to understand the laws regarding BAC submittal for the state that you actually live. So – how does Arizona handle these situations?

Arizona DUI law

Arizona’s laws regarding drunk driving are pretty unforgiving. If you are pulled over and arrested by a police officer who suspected that you were driving under the influence, they will request that you submit to a test to measure your level of intoxication. This will be either a breathalyzer test, or a blood or urine test – the kind of test is actually at the discretion of the officer who arrested you, or the specific type of test used by the county or community in which you were arrested. It is at this point that most people are unclear of how they should proceed.

Let’s straighten out some misconceptions

There’s a misconception that if you refuse to submit to one of these tests, you will in turn be protected from legal consequence because there won’t be any solid proof of your level of intoxication at the time of your arrest. However – in Arizona, we live in a state of “implied consent”. This means that when you got your driver’s license, basically you agreed only to drive while obeying the laws of the state. By this definition, if you are arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you have already “consented” to submit to a breath, blood, or alcohol test.

So, do you have the right to refuse this test? Technically, yes. But this comes with its own consequences. When you refuse to submit to a breath, blood or alcohol test when you’ve been arrested for a DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended a year. 

This does not mean that you don’t have options after the event of your arrest – while your license will be suspended on your refusal, you should also be provided with the forms and information you will need to contest the suspension, and then it will be up to the MVD Executive Hearing Judges. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that refusal of such a test in an implied consent state will likely result in a police officer getting a warrant.

Refusing the BAC test may not be in your best interest

Long story short, refusing a BAC test in Arizona is unlikely to do you any favors, legally speaking. The choice to refuse is still yours. If you are asked to give blood, breath or urine, it is your right to speak to an attorney first under most circumstances, you should call one who answers their phones 24/7 like Rosenstein Law Group. If you have already refused, then you should know that there is still hope. The MVD process is one that an experienced attorney can navigate and often be a real value in eliminating or reducing a driver’s license suspension.