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What Happens When I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test?

Arizona is an implied consent state. This means that anyone who is given driving privileges in the state is presumed to have given consent to breath and blood testing for the purpose of testing impairment after a DUI arrest. This means that once the DUI arrest occurs, a refusal is considered a violation of Arizona's implied consent law and can therefore lead to certain penalties.

You might now be wondering what happens after a person refuses chemical tests post-arrest. Here's how it works—the arresting officer will inform you of the consequences that can occur if you maintain your refusal. These include a driver's license suspension or denial for one year, or for two years if this is your second DUI-related chemical test refusal within a seven-year-period. This suspension will occur whether or not the driver is convicted of DUI (unless it is successfully challenged in your Motor Vehicle Division license suspension hearing). It is important to note that a chemical test refusal license suspension actually lasts longer than a suspension that is given for a failed breath or blood test, which can last 90 days for a first-time DUI offense. You will need to weigh these factors when making your decision.

If you still decide not to take a chemical test following your arrest, no test will be administered. The officer will take your driver's license, and provide you with a temporary driving permit that will be good for 15 days. (Your suspension goes into effect after that period). Within that 15-day timeframe, you will have the opportunity to request an administrative hearing through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MDV). The hearing will be scheduled to occur within 30 days of the request being made.

This hearing is very important because it gives you the opportunity to challenge his or her driver's license suspension. You might be able to get your suspension removed by showing that the officer did not properly inform you of the consequences of a chemical test refusal, or that he or she did not actually have reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving while impaired. (Reasonable grounds are considered to be probable cause—something that the U.S. Constitution requires in order for a search or arrest to be made.) Another way you could challenge your suspension is by showing that you either were not placed under arrest at the time of your refusal, or even that you never actually refused to take a chemical test.

These can be difficult points to prove, so it is crucial that you have a skilled DUI attorney there to help you create a strong defense plan and to represent you during your hearing. A strong lawyer can even provide you with representation throughout your criminal proceedings for your DUI charges (which are separate from your administrative hearing). While your MVD hearing will determine whether your driving privileges are suspended, your criminal proceedings will determine whether you are actually convicted of DUI and whether will receive penalties such as probation, jail time and expensive fines.

When choosing a DUI lawyer to work with, make sure you choose one who has the appropriate level of experience. Phoenix DUI Attorney Joshua S. Davidson has a well-rounded background in criminal law since he has served as both a DUI defense lawyer and as a prosecutor. This provides him with tactical insight that creates major value for his clients. Attorney Davidson is able to handle a broad spectrum of DUI cases. Don't hesitate to contact the law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC! You can receive a free consultation, which will allow you to explore your DUI defense options.

Categories: DUI
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