A common question people ask is what to do during a DUI investigation.  There are definite things a driver should refuse when law enforcement asks.   But, there are certain things a driver should not refuse.  It is important for all citizens to know their rights during any investigation, including a DUI.

What to Do During the Roadside DUI Investigation

Law enforcement will approach a driver’s vehicle after initiating the traffic stop.  Upon approach, officers will ask the driver for identification and insurance.  The driver cannot legally refuse to provide these items.  In fact, failure to provide driver’s license or evidence of identity is a crime itself per A.R.S. §28-1595.  And failure to provide proof of financial responsibility is a civil traffic offense. Indeed, a driver should provide these items upon request.

Upon contact, the officer is looking for impairment signs (i.e., odor of alcohol; bloodshot/watery eyes; slurred speech; lethargic movements). Law enforcement commences a DUI investigation on any person displaying these signs.  Law enforcement may try to engage in conversation to gauge a person’s speech or thought pattern. It is very important one rely on their right to remain silent and not volunteer any information.  Indeed, one should always invoke their Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent when subject to a law enforcement investigation. 

Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent

Specifically, a person must advise law enforcement unequivocally that they want an attorney and do not wish to speak.  This assertion of rights cannot be wishy washy or uncertain.  If it is, the Court will find there was not an invocation of rights and allow statements into evidence at a future trial.  Indeed, invoking one’s right to remain silent must be clear.   And once unequivocally asserted, law enforcement must cease questioning.

PBT & SFSTs Refused During the DUI Investigation

Upon suspecting impairment, law enforcement offers the portable breath test (PBT) and standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs).  A person should refuse both tests.  Indeed, the result of a roadside PBT is not even admissible in court, nor is its refusal.  Moreover, a person should never submit to SFSTs.  Many feel they “pass” these tests. However, that’s generally not true and people do not appreciate what these tests are. The SFSTs allegedly test a person’s ability to “divide attention.” In theory, one who cannot follow instructions and perform physical movements at the same time is unable to divide their attention to operate a motor vehicle.  However, SFSTs raise several issues, including how administered and questionable value.

Detained if Probable Cause Exists

The mere odor of alcohol may be enough for an officer to detain a driver.  Indeed, an officer will always investigate upon noticing the odor of alcohol.  This generally ends a person’s night, even if they ultimately blow well below the .08%.  Any person who drives with alcohol on their breath, even if not impaired, is assuming the risk of inviting a full DUI investigation and an end to their night.  Once detained, law enforcement will transport a suspected impaired driver to a police facility or DUI van.

What to Do During the DUI Investigation at the Facility or Van

Admin Per Se Implied Consent Affidavit

Upon arrival, law enforcement will read the Admin Per Se Implied Consent Affidavit.  This affidavit advises a person they are a suspect in a DUI. And, that law enforcement will be choosing a chemical test, or combination of chemical tests, for the person to submit.

The Admin Per Se also explains that if a person’s blood alcohol content is .08% or greater, then the person will lose their driving privileges for a period of 90-days. However, it further advises a refusal to submit to the chemical test will result in a 1-year driver’s license suspension. One should not refuse the chemical test. It will result in a lengthy suspension and the State will get the BAC anyway. Indeed, after a refusal the State will simply apply for a search warrant and obtain it quickly.  This will result in law enforcement obtaining a blood draw, by force, if necessary.  Indeed, the State will get the BAC result even if a person refuses the chemical test.      

Police Interview

Law enforcement will attempt to conduct an interview with a DUI suspect.  Specifically, police ask several questions calling for incriminating answers.  As discussed in detail above, it is imperative a person does not make statements or answer any questions other than the identity info required by A.R.S. §28-1595 referenced above.  Any statement a person makes is evidence against them.  Indeed, person has a right to remain silent and should always rely on it.

Huss Law as your DUI Attorney

Jeremy L. Huss has two decades of DUI investigative and prosecution experience.  It is important for all citizens to know the rights they may assert during a criminal investigation, including DUI.  Call Huss Law Today for a Free Consultation!

Categories:: DUI