Interviewer: What happens if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer or a preliminary breath test when you’re at the roadside when you’ve been stopped?
Munoz: If stopped for DUI in Arizona, and a DUI investigation is being conducted, everyone should always refuse to take the portable breath test. The portable breath test is only used so officers can try to find probable cause to make a DUI arrest. There is no benefit to taking a portable breath test for people who are being suspected of DUI. A portable breath test is not admissible in court, and the fact that they refuse is not admissible as well.
Interviewer: Once you’ve been arrested and you’re in either the DUI mobile van or at the police station and then you’re asked to take a Breathalyzer breath test, what happens if you refuse?
Munoz: If you refuse in Arizona, they will serve you with an implied consent suspension. Essentially, what that means is they will try to revoke your privilege to drive for one year. I would suggest that anybody being asked to take a blood or breath test in a DUI investigation ask to speak to a lawyer before they submit to a test.
Interviewer: What happens if the police refuse to allow you access to an attorney, and they ask you again to submit to a blood or breath test?
Munoz: If they refuse to let you have an opportunity to call a lawyer, you may have a very, very good legal argument that they denied you the right to talk to counsel. That is a right in the United States of America, and an experienced DUI lawyer can use those facts to hopefully, get your blood or breath tests dismissed.
Interviewer: Can the police force you to take a blood or a breath test?
Munoz: Yes. If they get a valid search warrant, police can force you to take the blood or breath test.
Interviewer: So, police can get a search warrant for a sample of your breath or a search warrant for a sample of your blood?
Munoz: They can get it for either one. The officer usually has the right to choose which test you take, but if they fax in a warrant that gives them probable cause that you may be DUI, then an on-call judge may sign a warrant and fax it back to the police officers, giving them the right to force you to take the test.
Interviewer: How long can it take if you refuse and they go to get a warrant for your blood or breath, how long can it take for them to get a warrant? How fast can it take?
Munoz: It is possible the warrant can come back as quick as 15 minutes, and sometimes, warrants have taken as long as 3 hours. There really is no exact science to it. It just depends on some of the people involved with the investigation.