4 things you probably don’t know about DUI law in Arizona
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) number from a type of breath test machine called a “preliminary breath test” or “PBT” is not admissible in court. The PBTs are usually small hand held devices in contrast to the much larger and bulkier court approved Evidential Breath Testers such as the Intoxilizer 5000 and Intoxilizer 8000. A positive result on the PBT should only be used for probable cause to arrest purposes. Some prosecutors use the result to show their was a presence of alcohol but are prohibited from eliciting testimony as to the actual BAC% the machine reports. This is because the devices do not meet the scientific standards required of admissible scientific evidence. In addition, the officer may want to administer a PBT to help build a DUI drug case. If the reading comes out .000 negative for alcohol he may use that to narrow his or her investigation on drugs being the source of the alleged impairment.
You are not required to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The fact that you refused these tests can be mentioned to the jury. However, in many cases, if not all, it is a good idea to refuse to perform these tests. If you take these tests you are usually helping the police build their case against you. There is almost never an upside to taking the tests and nearly always a downside. This can vary case to case but it is a good rule of thumb.
A lot of people wonder if they should agree to a blood test. This is a tricky question and it depends on how important having a driver’s license is to you. In most cases you should submit to a “chemical test” if you do not want your driver’s license suspended for a longer period of time. The chemical tests could include a blood test or a court admissible version of the breathalyzer. If you refuse or delay for unreasonable amount of time and the police ask for a warrant your license will most likely be suspended for one year. In addition, the Deputy or Officer will in most cases obtain a warrant over the phone within minutes. There always a judge on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to hear law enforcements’ applications for search warrants. If the judge feels there is probable cause they will issue a warrant. If having a license is not vital to your life you may want to consider refusing and make them get a warrant. You may have a case where they do not have probable cause and a warrant wasn’t or should not have been issued. This is one reason taking the Field Sobriety Tests are such a bad idea in most cases. It helps the officer make a stronger argument to the judge.
One caveat, is that if you are likely facing a felony charge, you should insist they get a warrant. This is because a felony DUI conviction comes with substantial prison time and the length of your driver’s licenses suspension is not high on the priority list as it is in a misdemeanor dui case.
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE: PLEASE ASK A LAWYER ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC CASE
Call 520 261-2576 for a consultation regarding your DUI case.