***ATTENTION – ARIZONA DUI LAWS HAVE CHANGED AS OF JANUARY 1, 2023.***
Many articles that you read relating to DUI laws in Arizona may not be up to date or accurate because DUI laws have changed significantly as of January 1, 2023. Attorney Steven Scharboneau played a key role in the passage of these new laws and even drafted the language to reform Arizona’s DUI laws. Attorney Steven Scharboneau can be reached 24/7 at (480) 363-0090.
Will My License Be Suspended If I Am Charged With a DUI?
An important idea to understand when thinking about your license after a DUI arrest is that there is a big difference between a criminal charge and a criminal conviction. Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty of that crime. In fact, a person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty when facing criminal charges. However, having your license suspended is an administrative action and not held to the same high standards as criminal charges. So, yes… your license could be suspended merely for being charged for a DUI even though you are presumed innocent.
The license suspension process begins right away once you are arrested for DUI even though you have not been convicted of any crime. This is because courts have decided that an individual has less of a liberty interest in a license to drive than in being free from imprisonment or being required to pay fines/fess. So, the courts have decided that we do not enjoy the same constitutional protections that we do in a criminal proceeding, in proceedings to have your license to drive suspended. That said, the courts have acknowledged that we do have some liberty interest in our license to drive, so a person may request a hearing before having their license suspended for simply for being arrested on suspicion of DUI. The following is an attempt to explain this complicated process.
Arizona Department of Transportation Executive Hearing Office
When a person is accused of DUI, there are two cases that the person will need to deal with. The only similarity between these two cases are that they arose from the same incident and set of facts. One case will be in the criminal court and one case will be in the administrative court through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Executive Hearing Office. Each of these cases will be in a different court as well as have different case numbers and different judges. The criminal matter will deal with the possibility of fines, fees, jail, probation and other matters. The civil case in the administrative courts will only deal with the status of you license. That said, what is said in one court could be used against you in the other.
It is important to find an Arizona DUI attorney that will handle both the civil case and the criminal case for you. Many Arizona criminal defense attorneys will only handle the criminal case, but not the administrative case. Arizona DUI Attorney Steven Scharboneau is not only capable of representing you in both the civil and criminal matters, he wrote and reformed the laws that govern these areas. This gives him a next level understanding of the complexities of the laws and puts him in an advanced category of DUI attorneys.
To refuse or not to refuse when asked to consent to a test of your blood, breath or other bodily substance for purposes of determining you blood alcohol level?
First of all–none of this applies to the breath test that law enforcement attempts to give a person on a roadside. REFUSE THAT TEST EVERY TIME. Those tests are inaccurate and not admissible in court given the lack of reliability of the test. You are not required to take preliminary field tests, including field sobriety tests or preliminary breath tests. Always ask to speak to an attorney after being pulled over and before consenting to any tests or answering any questions by law enforcement.
Whether or not to consent to a test depends on the facts and circumstances of your specific case. It will take some questioning and answering from an Arizona DUI attorney to be able to determine whether or not you should refuse or consent to a test. If you ever find yourself in the situation of being charged with a DUI, tell law enforcement that you want a private call with your lawyer IMMEDIATELY.
You never know when you are going to need an attorney – SAVE MY CELL NUMBER IN YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW – ATTORNEY STEVEN SCHARBONEAU (480) 363-0090.
In any circumstance, after being arrested and after the DUI investigation, your physical license will likely be taken away by law enforcement and they will give you a pink piece of paper that says that you have 30 days to drive before your license will be suspended. This is one reason it is so critical that you immediately reach out to attorney Steven Scharboneau right after the DUI investigation. There is a time clock ticking and work needs to be done in a timely matter to preserve your license. If time runs out, irreversible damage can occur to your case.
ADOT – Admin Per Se – Consent Suspension – ARS 28-1385
If you consent to a test as requested by law enforcement, you are consenting to both a breath and a blood test. You will not be entitled to choose which test you consent to. To put it another way, if you refuse one test—it will be treated as if you refused them all. If you consent to the tests and none of the exceptions apply to you, you will be facing a potential 90-day suspension of your license. However, requests can be made for other options and a hearing can be requested where we can fight the suspension all together. The decision on whether or not to fight the suspension and which options to pursue depends on any persons given situation and history and all options should be carefully considered before moving forward. The new law that went into effect on January 1, 2023 offers options that may avoid a license suspension all together.
ADOT – Implied Consent – Refusal Suspension – ARS 28-1321
A common misconception on refusing law enforcement’s request to submit to a chemical test is that if you refuse, they can’t take the test. This is WRONG. In fact, the next step after a person refuses for law enforcement is to get a search warrant signed by a judge and then ask again with the search warrant in hand. After that, they will literally tie you down to a chair and forcibly take your blood with several other law enforcement officers holding you down. No, I’m not kidding…
If you refuse a test, you could be looking at a 12-month license suspension. The new law—drafted by Attorney Steven Scharboneau—may allow you to serve the license suspension with an interlock restricted license rather than take the hard 12-month suspension. In large part, this will depend on the date of the alleged violation. Again, contacting an Arizona DUI attorney to better understand your circumstance and how they apply to the law is the best move in these situations. Attorney Steven Scharboneau will discuss your case with you free of charge.