The DUI Arrest

by Aaron M. Black • February 21, 2023
Most DUI arrests (driving under the influence arrests) occur in the evening and after midnight hours, but they do happen in daylight, too. Traffic officers at any time of day are looking for drivers who are traveling below or above the speed limit, making wide turns, driving on the edge of lane lines, turning without signaling, avoiding a sobriety checkpoint, and other illegal behaviors all of which police forces will use for reasonable suspicion & probable cause for the stop. They also look for expired license plates, burned-out brake lights, loud exhausts, and tinted windows that are too dark. Any of those things is an invitation to a traffic stop.

Also, a parked vehicle with an impaired person inside with possession of the car keys is also a DUI offense.

DUI - Driving Under The Influence

The DUI Traffic Stop

The law enforcement officer in asking for the individual’s driver’s license and proof of insurance will look inside the vehicle for open alcohol containers and drugs or drug paraphernal that are in plain view. If nothing is visible the officers cannot conduct a search of the vehicle without a search warrant.

The traffic officer, who is trained in looking for signs of impairment, will be looking for slurred speech, red eyes, an odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath, and the smell of marijuana, all as probable cause.

DUI Traffic Stop

Field Sobriety Tests

Next, to determine if the driver is a threat on the road the police officer then asks drivers who are about to become a test subject to submit to a series of common field sobriety tests. These include looking for eyes jerking when moving an object smoothly from side to side, walking-and-turning, standing on one foot, walking a straight line while feet are touching heel to toe, using arms or hopping to regain balance, and counting backward, among other standardized field sobriety tests looking for probable cause. Any failures on these tests will wind up in the police report.

Field Sobriety Test In Process

Agility test results, however, are subjective. Drivers may have a physical ailment, such as requiring a cane to walk, that will throw off these tests.

You may politely decline the request to take these tests, but if you do, you will be arrested on suspicion of driving impaired, and refusing the test can be used in court as proof of guilt.

Portable Breathalyzer TestUpon completing a field sobriety test, the officer can also ask you to take a PBT (Portable Breath Test) breathalyzer test to confirm drunk driving. You should always refuse this test at the scene. However, later the officer will ask you to consent to a blood test or a breath test at the station, vam, or hospital. If you refuse this test, your license will be suspended for 1 year. If you refuse, the officer can take you to a hospital or a police station to draw blood for a blood test but first must obtain a search warrant before conducting the blood test.
A blood alcohol level over the legal limit of .08 will bring about DUI charges in the State of Arizona. A blood alcohol concentration of .15 will result in the state charging you with the offense of an Extreme DUI. While drivers with a blood alcohol level of .20 or higher above the legal limit will be charged with the offense of a Super Extreme DUI in the State of AZ. In another State, blood alcohol concentration limits may differ. The State of Arizona has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country as they are trying to reduce drunk-driving traffic accidents.

Motor Vehicle Crashes

If there has been a motor vehicle crash, or other traffic violation, it can be used as probable cause for a drunk driving or drug-impaired DUI arrest. Single-vehicle crashes or wrong-way crashes on a divided highway often lead to probable cause for a DUI arrest. The time of the accident may also influence the officer’s thinking.

DUI Accident

If there is an accident in which the driver is DUI and another person suffered a serious physical injury, the misdemeanor DUI will be upgraded to Aggravated Assault. This is a felony and carries a prison sentence of 5-15 years.

A DUI while driving the wrong-way on a roadway in Arizona is a class four felony. If convicted, the sentence carries a mandatory 4 month prison sentence.

Various Stages of A DUI Arrest

At the moment of arrest for the offense of driving under the influence, the officer must by law recite your Miranda rights: “You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment, that anything you do say will be used against you and you the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Do you understand these rights?”

Exercise your rights and remain silent until you have obtained legal advice. Studies have shown that nothing you say is going to influence the officer or help your case. Police use anything you say against you and it only helps the States prosecution of you.

5th Amendment The Right To Remain Silent

Your motor vehicle will be towed and impounded at a city, county, or state impound lot.

Always request to speak with a lawyer. You will be given your phone or a phonebook to make a call. Take advantage and try to call a DUI lawyer.

The Booking Process

If the suspected DUI offender is taken to a police station for booking, the motor vehicle driver will be searched, looking for any amount of drugs, including recreational drugs, as well as any weapons. You will be fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell after making a phone call to a lawyer, family, or friends advising them of the arrest. A police report will be filled out and will be used for future prosecution by the State. In simple DUI cases, defendants are released the same night to a friend, family member, or ride share. However, Arizona DPS will often book impaired drivers into jail, and a suspect would be released the following day after seeing a judge.

DUI Suspect Being Fingerprinted

In more serious DUI charges, the accused impaired driver can be held until bail is arranged by a local or State court.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

Should you or someone you care for be charged or are under investigation for a DUI it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you at the earliest possible time. In my long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, and that is why I ensure they have the best defense possible.

Aaron M. Black Law provides personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your DUI case.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

Other blog posts about the DUI process...

Next: How to choose a DUI attorney


About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
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