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Failing a Breathalyzer Test in Arizona


One of the first things a police officer will do if he pulls you over and suspects you may be under the influence of alcohol is ask you to perform a number of tests. Officers typically start with a field sobriety test or “The Roadside Olympics” which include asking you to perform tasks like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg while a flashlight is shined in your eyes. Another option is abreathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol level via your breath. On the side of the road the breath test is done with a portable machine that is simply blown into.

The breathalyzer test is not always completely accurate and it can be affected by some factors. How recently you had a drink may cause a false positive and also if you recently used mouthwash. A breathalyzer test can also be inaccurate if there wasn’t an adequate breath sample and if the machine itself has not been properly maintained and calibrated. Technology is getting more advanced and newer breathalyzer machines contain testing safeguards, so no result will be given if there is an error in testing.

In order for breathalyzer tests to be used in your case, you must give at least two tests no less than 5 minutes apart and no more than 10 minutes apart. You may also be asked to give a blood sample. This is typically more accurate when measuring your blood alcohol content (BAC).

In Arizona, you can refuse to perform the road side field sobriety tests mentioned above (you may also refuse the portable breath test, but not the Intoxilyzer 8000, which is the big breath machine usually located back at the police station or in the DUI van). Avoiding the roadside tests is especially advisable for the coordination and balance test the officer may ask you to perform. A blood test may be mandatory if there is a warrant involved. There is also the implied consent law, which basically states that if a person is in possession of a valid Arizona driver’s license, that person has already given consent to the state to perform Blood, Breath or urine these tests if suspected of DUI.

If you do give blood, invoke your right to obtain an independent chemical test of your blood or urine and ask for a sample of your blood, breath or urine to be preserved for this.

Download our free “Ten Things to do if Stopped for a DUI” Guide for more information about your rights and what is advisable should you be pulled over in Arizona.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Gilbert, Mesa or surrounding cities, schedule a free consult with Charlie Naegle, an Arizona criminal defense attorney, to discuss your matter and defense options for legal representation. There may be defenses you are not aware of that apply to your case. If your constitutional rights have been violated, and it is material to your charges, it can result in suppression of evidence, and lead to case dismissal.

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