Can I Get a DUI for Having One Drink at Dinner?

by Aaron Black • November 14, 2011
Drinks at dinnerWhenever I am at a restaurant in our lovely neighborhood I sit around and look at all the moms, dads, and professionals having a cocktail with their dinner. Most of these people drive home thinking they are just fine after one or two drinks. That is not the case in Arizona.

For example, on your way home an officer watches you make a wide left turn onto Indian School. He turns his red and blue light on. You pull over. The officer slowly struts to your window. He smells alcohol on your breath and asks, “Have you been drinking?”

What do you do now?

Ask for a lawyer and respectfully refuse to answer any questions. Of course this is going to make the officer suspicious, but he is probably going to arrest you anyway. Why help him? However, you must always give the officer your identification information.

The officer will then tell you he wants to conduct some tests. These are called Field Sobriety Tests. They are actually agility tests designed to test your ability to multitask.
  • These tests consist of walking a straight line and balancing on one leg. Always politely request a lawyer and refuse these tests. {HINT} Sober people fail the tests, so do not think you can beat them. Just think how nervous you got when the officer pulled you over. Now try to balance.
  • The officer will also ask to look at your eyes. He will want you to follow a pen. The officer is looking for involuntary jerking of the eye. This is called Horizontal Gaze and Nystagmus (HGN). Respectfully ask for a lawyer and refuse the test. {HINT} Alcohol is one of the 180 plus causes of Nystagmus. However, officers assume alcohol is the only cause of Nystagmus.
  • Never blow into the PBT (Preliminary Breath Test). The PBT is the little breath machine the officer will pull out of his car and ask you to blow into. He will also tell you he will release you if you are under a .08. This test is not admissible in court and only used as a tool to arrest you.
The officer is most likely going to arrest you if you refuse or comply with the tests. He will write in his report there was an odor of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, and a slight sway. Doing the tests will not help your case. Agreeing to the tests only helps the police and prosecutors build a case against you.

Remember, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and a right not to incriminate yourself. Do not do the field sobriety tests.

These tips by no means guarantee you will beat your DUI if charged. But, these tips make it more difficult for a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and much easier for your attorney to mount a viable defense.

The best DUI defense is to not drive after having an alcoholic drink. Ride a bike. {HINT} You cannot get a DUI on an un-motorized bicycle in Arizona.

Top 20 infractions that police officers are looking for when searching for drunk drivers:

  • Turning with a wide radius
  • Straddling the center of the lane marker
  • "Appearing to be drunk"
  • Almost striking an object
  • Car was weaving
  • Driving on other than designated highway
  • Vehicle was swerving
  • Driving at a speed more than 10mph below the posted speed limit
  • Stopping in traffic for no reason
  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Car was Drifting
  • Vehicles tires are on the lane marker
  • Braking erratically
  • Driving into oncoming traffic
  • Signaling inconsistently
  • Slow response to traffic signals
  • Stopping inappropriately
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Accelerating of Decelerating rapidly
  • Driving without your headlights on
Contact Phoenix, AZ DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black to learn more or call (480)729-1683 for a free telephonic consultation.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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