Attorney Adele Drumlevitch

A Step By Step Breakdown Of The DUI Process In Arizona


If you are stopped by law enforcement for a DUI, most likely you will be arrested within that fifteen-minute mark. That is the officer’s decision, “Am I going to place this person under arrest” for the first threshold charge. When I have a case such as this, I really pick it apart. I do a timeline of when did the officer see the vehicle, when did the vehicle stop, when was the person out of the vehicle, and what is the time of the arrest.

If you have never been in trouble before, and it was a different option, but many times, there is a court appointed public defender for your case. I tend to get many people that were repeat offenders. We call them Frequent Flyers, and they have been in trouble before, and they know the system, they have been through this before. However, now working with private clients, usually it is their first time. They have jobs where they cannot be in trouble. They are scared, nervous, and I do not know if time is going fast in their head or time is going slow, but I am going to say that in those ten minutes they are in shock, “Oh my God, I just got pulled over, I’d never gotten a ticket before, maybe a speeding ticket. I am now being told to get out of the car. The officer is going to ask, “Did you drink”, and you said, “Yes, I had a few drinks at bar or at dinner” and now, you are on the side of the road. Maybe you took your shoes off because you are in high heels and he says, “Are those shoes comfortable? Do you want to take your shoes off because I am going to have you walk the line”, you will now have ten minutes to show the police officer what you can do to convince this him that you are not impaired to the slightest degree, or under the influence.

Unfortunately, I do not know what people can do to try to show they are not, often it is going to be, “No, I believe I have reasonable grounds, I have probable cause to arrest you, and I am going to arrest you for the DUI”. More people are arrested in that situation. I do not know how many people get to go home that are put in that situation. I have talked to some people, and they have told me, “Yes, I got pulled over, I could do the test, and I got to go home”, but other than that, I do not really know how many people are arrested for a DUI.

In Arizona, it is the eye test, which is called HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus). That is followed by two field sobriety tests, which are the Walk and Turn test, and then the One Leg Stand test. Then, the PBT, which is called a Preliminary Breath Test. I have even seen some judges refer to it as a portable breath test, at least in Arizona, it is not. The PBT is a preliminary breath test, but it is portable, so I want to point out the official term of the preliminary breath test is a portable device. They will have you blow into that. By that time, he is going to decide if you are under arrest, and drive you to the police station.

Occasionally, they will have a DUI van in the area, and drive around to pick up potential suspects. If there is a checkpoint, and they have the machines in the van, they will use those. Years ago, you had to go to the police station for this test, now most police cruisers have this portable machine in their cars. They have to warm up the Intoxilyzer machine, which is the breathalyzer machine to get it ready.

It warms up within fifteen minutes unless it is already in use. They need that time to warm up the machine and start the deprivation period, which takes another fifteen minutes. They need to make sure you do not put anything in your mouth. They may ask you to start some paperwork; also, they will read your Miranda warnings at that time. They may or may not do that. However, they have to read you the admonitions regarding taking a chemical test, and your rights on what happens if you do not submit to the test. Sometimes they may ask you more questions

Also, note that could be the machine is warming up once you take one blow and before you take your second blow. There is a time delay there as well, so they are not only warming up the machine, but your fifteen-minute deprivation period can overlap warming up most machines. Once you take your first blow they have to wait ten minutes before you take a second blow at least in Arizona. I do not know if it is the same parameters in all states with these machines, but because of the machines, you must wait before the second blow. That is assuming you have a good first blow and a good second blow. If you do not, then you might need to start the process again.

You may be able to do a second and a third blow if there was a problem with the first blow, or you might have to start all over again and start another series. It takes time. Sometimes it is an hour and a half; it just rather depends on how far they are from the station, and what they need to do to get the machine ready. If you are not belching within the fifteen minutes, then they have to start again and wait another fifteen minutes.

Sometimes they get it done in the two hours, but usually within an hour. Then we start the paperwork, fingerprinting, and photographs. Then your ticket will be written up. It takes time to get that at the station. If you are lucky enough, you might be released, or you might be booked, and transported to jail.

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