Implied Consent

Many jurisdictions, including the state of Arizona, rely on the concept of implied consent as a way to limit incidents of driving under the influence (DUI). Although these laws vary from one state to the next, the premise remains the same: the act of driving on Arizona roads means that drivers consent in advance to submit to chemical testing designed to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should they be arrested for DUI.

Under the Arizona implied consent statute, a "person who operates a motor vehicle in the state gives consent...to a test…of the person's blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance." The statute does not, however give law enforcement officers the ability to draw blood at will. Remember, chemical tests are blood, urine, and breath tests. These are the only tests that you are required to take if asked by an officer. You aren't officially required to take any roadside tests or to answer any questions, so politely refusing is often your best DUI defense. DUI charges in the Phoenix area are not something you should navigate without legal representation like an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently clarified that a law enforcement officer may only take blood from someone suspected of DUI under specific circumstances:

  • When that person "expressly agrees" to the blood draw. According to the court, express consent by a driver suspected of DUI must be "affirmatively and unequivocally manifested by words or conduct, and may not be inferred by a suspect's mere failure to communicate clear objections to the test."
  • The law enforcement officer has obtain a court-ordered search warrant based upon a description of probable cause. As a practical matter, can obtain a search warrant from a judicial officer over the telephone within minutes. That being the case, many people will consent to the testing.

This ruling does not alter the potential consequences of refusing to submit to a blood draw to determine BAC. Under the implied consent law, drivers who do not voluntarily submit to the testing will lose their driving privileges for one year. Under the implied consent law, if you are operating a motor vehicle, you have given your consent to take a chemical test, so you cannot refuse without penalty. Drivers should carefully consider their options before deciding on a course of action.

If the driver is a resident of the state of Arizona operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license or permit, or if they have an expired license or permit, the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles (MVD) shall deny the person a license or permit for a period of 12 months after the order of suspension becomes effective, or for a period of two years after the order of suspension becomes effective for a second or subsequent chemical test refusal within a period of 60 months.

With all of the potential repercussions of an arrest and a conviction for DUI, it is vital that your legal situation should be handled by an expert professional with the experience that the attorneys possess at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

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