Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Arizona?

breathalyzer, car keys, and beer on tabletop

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Arizona?

If a police officer suspects that you were driving under the influence, they will ask you to take a DUI test after pulling you over. But can you refuse to take a breathalyzer, blood test, or other DUI chemical test? 

The full answer to that question is a little complicated. You can refuse breathalyzer tests in Arizona, but there will be certain consequences. Below we explain more about the right to refuse a DUI test and what happens if you do. 

Arizona DUI Laws: Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

Arizona’s Implied Consent Law

In the United States, you have the legal right to refuse a breathalyzer test unless the police officer has a search warrant. That’s because breath tests and other chemical tests fall under the fourth amendment, which protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. 

However, even though you technically have the right to refuse a DUI test, in Arizona there are consequences for doing so. As an implied consent state, you automatically consent to submit a breath, blood, urine, or other chemical test at the request of a police officer just by driving. If you refuse to take a DUI test, you are violating that consent. 

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer

When it comes to refusing DUI tests, it’s crucial that you understand your rights so that you know if they’re being violated. If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Arizona, the police officer can not legally administer it unless they have a warrant. 

However, refusing the test will result in the following consequences:

  • You will have to immediately forfeit your driver’s license or driving permit to the officer (a temporary permit will be issued that is valid for 15 days).
  • The police officer will file a report of the refusal, which can be used against you in court.
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months, starting from the date that the temporary permit expires. 
  • If it is your second refusal, your license will be suspended for two years. 

Keep in mind that refusing to take a DUI test does not mean you won’t have to take one period. The police officer can still issue a search warrant for your breath, blood, etc. after you’ve refused the test, and you must comply when an officer has a warrant. 

Can You Get a DUI Without Taking a Breathalyzer Test?

Arizona law is extremely strict when it comes to driving under the influence. As a zero-tolerance state, a police officer can pull you over and charge you with a DUI if you are impaired to the slightest degree from any substance, including prescription drugs. That means you can be charged with a DUI even when your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. 

In Arizona, if a police officer suspects you were driving impaired, they can issue a DUI without the need for a breathalyzer or any other sobriety test. You could even be convicted of driving under the influence based on incriminating factors, such as witness testimony, without ever having taken a breathalyzer. 

DUI Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona

In Arizona, a DUI is a serious crime that comes with harsh penalties. If you’ve been charged with a DUI with or without taking a breathalyzer test, it’s essential that you contact an experienced lawyer. 

The Van Norman Law team has handled hundreds of Arizona DUI defense cases over nearly three decades. We’ll help you protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 480-481-0616 today.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/23/2023). Image by piotrpiotrwojcicki from Pixabay