What should I do if I am stopped?

In the state of Arizona, if you are pulled over or stopped by a law enforcement officer and you are questioned about driving under the influence (DUI) or you are asked to perform any field sobriety tests (FSTs), you should immediately ask to consult legal counsel.

In Tempe, Phoenix or other communities in Maricopa County, it is important that you consult experienced Arizona DUI lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C. through a 24-hour help line that will be answered within minutes of your call. Our lawyers will make certain that you are aware of all of your constitutional rights regarding an investigation before you submit to any tests or answer any questions that may possibly be incriminating should the charges pending against you be heard in court.

You can be stopped for DUI in a variety of ways. The most common are:

  • an officer stops you for a traffic infraction such as speeding, weaving, or failure to yield.
  • an officer responds to an accident scene where he may or may not have witnessed your driving.

A DUI police report will contain the officer's observations regarding signs of alcohol ingestion, such as odor of alcohol and bloodshot, watery eyes. These are signs only indicative of ingestion, not necessarily impairment.

Questions you need to ask yourself and can be answered by a lawyer include:

  • If you are stopped for investigation of DUI in Arizona and request speak with a lawyer, what does the officer have to do to accommodate that request?
  • Is the officer permitted to continue questioning you?
  • Can the officer make you submit to the tests he has requested?
  • Can the officer obtain a sample of your blood?
  • Does the officer have to discontinue any questioning and testing in order to allow you to speak with a lawyer? Or,
  • Is the officer required to allow you to go completely?

Accepted practice has been that if a DUI suspect asks to speak to an attorney, law enforcement officers are required to give the driver an opportunity to speak with a lawyer. The primary reason to talk with legal counsel is that a lawyer will advise the DUI suspect about the importance of gathering independent evidence that may be used later during court proceedings. Most importantly, a DUI suspect should obtain an independent blood draw as a potential way to counter the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) evidence presented by the prosecutor. It is important to consider that BAC results can change by the minute, thus, the sooner an independent blood draw is conducted, the better.

If the officer refuses to allow you to contact legal counsel, do not argue with him. You should make a mental note of the exchange between you and the officer, including what you said, as well as the response of the officer. You have the right under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to answer any questions to refuse to answer questions that could lead to answers of an incriminating nature. In response to requests from the officer, you are required to produce identification, your driver's license, the registration for your vehicle and a proof of insurance document. Also, if the officer makes the request, you are required to submit to an analysis of your blood, breath or urine.

Driver's who are under investigation for DUI should refuse to perform any FSTs or other physical tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. The officer does not have a right to impose any sort of penalty for your refusal to submit to FSTs. The tests are easy, especially during a stressful situation. You are unlikely to do very well.

As stated previously, you should immediately ask the police officer for the opportunity to speak to an attorney once it appears to you that he suspects that you might be DUI. You have the absolute right to consult with counsel as soon as reasonably possible after your request. It is important that your DUI legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

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