MAIN POINTS OF ARTICLE:
- Be Polite and Respectful
- Have your insurance, license and registration easily accessible
- Do not lie to police officers; respectfully decline to answer questions
- Do NOT take any Field Sobriety Tests
- Do NOT take the Portable Breath Test
- When arrested, ask for an Attorney and continue to stay quiet
- Submit to blood, breath or urine testing at the Police Station or DUI van after arrest
First, a police officer must have what is known as ‘probable cause’ to pull you over. Typically, this means you must commit some offense under the Vehicle Code. An officer cannot simply pull over a car for no reason, such as leaving a bar establishment; that is not a valid probable cause. If the officers pulled you over without probable cause, your attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence to get the illegally obtained evidence thrown out. (Such as any blood tests and/or admissions).
You should turn off your vehicle and place your hands at 10 and 2. The officer will likely ask for your license, registration, and insurance. The officer does not ask for these items solely for the need of obtaining that information. He or she is also observing you to determine any signs of intoxication that they can use against you. Does your hand shake, do you seem nervous, do you have trouble locating items, do you slur your speech when you answer the officer? Even something as small as having trouble getting your license out of your wallet can indicate to the officer that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The officer will then likely ask “Have you been drinking tonight?”, or “How many drinks have you had?” If you have been drinking, the officer will almost always note that you had blood shot, watery eyes and smell of alcohol. You never should lie to an officer. Instead of remaining silent or lying, you should state “I respectfully decline to answer any questions”. If the officer continues his line of questioning, ask if you are free to leave. If the officer states that you are not free to leave, ask for access to an attorney.
In most cases, an officer will then ask you to exit the vehicle, if they haven’t already. When you get out of the vehicle, the officer will watch and make a notation of how you exit your vehicle. Do you use the handle above the car door? Do you trip, or stumble or sway?
Once out of your vehicle, the officer will ask if you will be willing to submit to some physical tests. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU REFUSE ANY AND ALL FIELD TESTS. You do not need to take these tests. The officer may insist that you take these tests by telling you that if you are not drunk, you should just complete the tests. This may seem at the time an easy way out. However, these tests are designed to fail. Many factors can affect the outcome of your performance on these tests: Nervousness, weather, lighting, shoes, pavement gradation, along with others.
If you agree to take the tests, you are told what to do by the officer in each exercise. Then the officer judges your performance and marks down any “cues/clues” of impairment that they see. Because you do not know all of the “cues/clues” on the officers list, you are at a serious disadvantage of successfully completing the test. Again, DO NOT TAKE ANY PHYSICAL FIELD TEST.
Also, always refuse a portable breath test. You do not have to submit to this test. This is a handheld device that is not connected to anything. The officer can carry it in his hand and will ask you to blow into the device at the scene where they pulled you over. Do not confuse this device with the Intoxilizer at a police precinct or DUI van which is usually a fairly large machine that is mounted.
You will likely be arrested now, if you haven’t already. You must ask for an attorney. You want to invoke your right to counsel because this will prevent the officer from asking you any questions that could be used against you. Any questions, no matter how trivial they may seem, are used to gather evidence against you. Therefore, NEVER answer any questions from law enforcement.
Once arrested, the officer will either take you to a location to take your blood, breath or urine. Under A.R.S. 28-1321 B, it states that an operator of a vehicle suspected of driving while under the influence must submit to a blood, breath or urine test upon arrest and “if the violator refuses the violator shall be informed that the violator’s license or permit to drive will be suspended or denied for twelve months…” Therefore, you SHOULD submit to a blood, breath or urine test after being arrested. If you refuse, your license is likely to be suspended for a year and the officer will simply make a call to a judge at the scene to get a subpoena to forcibly take your blood.
We believe that all of our clients, no matter the offense they have been accused of committing, deserve the best defense counsel at every stage of their case. At any point in the criminal process, involving an attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make. Your constitutional rights and interests will need to be aggressively protected throughout the criminal court process if you are to have the opportunity of avoiding or mitigating a conviction. CALL (480) 213-4489 for a FREE CONSULTATION!
Shawn Haven Dove
Attorney at Law
Dove Law Firm PLLC