What does it mean that Arizona is a zero tolerance state?

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws, because they have declared themselves to be a zero tolerance state. Even if your blood alcohol level was less than 0.08%, you can be charged with a DUI offense. The 0.08% standard is only a presumptive minimum, which means that you can be charged with DUI with that level even if you showed no other signs of intoxication.

What happens if I refuse to do the sobriety tests? Can I refuse just part of what the officer wants, like for instance the chemical test?

Implied consent means that you have agreed by driving on the roads of Arizona to cooperate with these tests if an officer believes he has probable cause to ask. If you refuse to cooperate with the testing, your license can be suspended by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division for one year as a refusal.

Can I ask for an attorney before I take the sobriety tests?

Unfortunately, because of implied consent, you cannot refuse to take sobriety tests without calling an attorney first. However, it is important to call an attorney as soon as possible, whatever you decide to do. Your attorney will be able to help you sort out your case.

What if the officer asks if I have been drinking, or where I was coming from?

You have no legal obligation to answer those kinds of questions. You can be polite but refuse to answer any questions that might incriminate you. Many times, officers are hoping you will admit you just left a bar, or another place where you would have been drinking. In this instance, you are well within your rights to refuse and ask to speak to an attorney instead.

Do I need an attorney? How do I choose the best one for my circumstances?

There is so much at stake when you are charged with a DUI that it is important to have an attorney who will help protect your rights. You should choose an attorney you can trust, and one who you feel has the ability to make a difference in your case and who truly cares about his clients’ interests.

What are the consequences of a DUI on my automobile insurance?

It is very likely that your insurance premium will go up substantially if you have a DUI conviction, by even thousands of dollars. You will also have to carry a special kind of insurance and file an SR22. Because your driving privileges are so important to your livelihood, this is one of the most important reasons to fight DUI charges.

What happens if I am arrested in Arizona but live in another state? Or if my conviction was from another state?

Because different states have a pact to honor each other’s laws, you will probably still face consequences on your driving record if you are visiting from another state. In the same fashion, your prior conviction from another state will probably still count on your driving record as a prior DUI for charging and sentencing.

What is an administrative hearing?

When your driver’s license is suspended because of your DUI, you go through an administrative hearing which is conducted by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. Unlike your criminal case, the hearing is civil, and the purpose of the hearing is simply to decide if there are really grounds for suspending your driving privileges. These hearings are different from other kinds of hearings, and you should have an attorney to help you understand the process.

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