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Watch Out For Holiday DUI Patrols

During the holidays, it is not uncommon for Arizona drivers to be pulled over for DUI.  In fact, the holidays are known for being prime time for DUI arrests.  There are more drivers on the road and more of them are drinking, so authorities often set up road blocks, DUI saturation patrols and other methods to ensure that as many drivers who are drinking and driving are caught as is possible. What does this mean for you?  It means that, if at all possible, you should avoid getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking.  That means even after a beer or two, because DUI blood alcohol concentrations are difficult to predict.  If you cannot avoid driving, understand the realities of DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, including what you can and cannot do when faced with the possibility of being pulled over. If you are approaching a DUI checkpoint or are being signaled to pull over by an officer, you do not have the right to:

  • Elude pursuit or refuse to pull over. Eluding an officer is a serious crime that will bring charges, even if you are not driving under the influence.  If you are stopped, be sure to pull over immediately, and never try to run through a roadblock or dodge one suddenly by turning around.
  • Refuse a breath, blood or urine test. Under Arizona’s implied consent law, you must comply with reasonable requests to have your blood, breath or urine tested for drugs or alcohol.  Failure to do so is a crime and will carry similar penalties to a DUI conviction.

You do have the right to:

  • Refuse a search of your vehicle. Unless the officer has grounds to obtain a warrant, he or she cannot randomly search a vehicle without the owner’s consent.  If you refuse, the officer will either be forced to obtain a warrant or to place you under arrest for suspected DUI or other crimes.
  • Refuse to take field sobriety tests. There is little value to be gained from taking field sobriety tests.  If you pass them, the fact will probably not weigh in your favor in a DUI criminal trial.  If you do not pass them, the fact may be used as probable cause against you.  Politely decline taking these tests, but remember that you are required to submit to blood, breath and urine tests.
  • Have simultaneous testing performed. If you are being placed under arrest for DUI, you have the right to have an independent blood alcohol test conducted by an agency of your choosing.  These results can be compared to the police results to see if they agree.

If you are pulled over for DUI, be sure to politely but firmly exercise your rights.  You should also contact the experienced DUI attorneys at Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix immediately.    

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