The Field Sobriety Test (FSTs) are three tests certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that police administer at the scene to determine if a driver is intoxicated. There are other tests that can be performed, but they have not been certified for use in DUI investigation.
The three tests are: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN, the eye test), Walk and Turn test, and One Leg Stand test. HGN examines the eyes to check for signs of impairment. The Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand test examine a driver’s ability to divide his or her attention and complete a balancing task.
What is a breath test?
The breath test is a testing option used by law enforcement to determine if there is alcohol in your system and to measure your Breath Alcohol Concentration. These machines measure the alcohol concentration in the air that is exhaled from a person’s lungs.
A breath test can come up in two different contexts. The first occurs prior to arrest, and the police will request a preliminary breath test using a hand-held device in order to obtain more evidence to determine whether you are impaired. If you refuse this preliminary breath test, there are no consequences for refusal.
The second time the breath test can occur is after an arrest, and under Arizona law, there are consequences for refusing this test, such as a year-long suspension of your driver’s license. If required to do a post-arrest breath test, you will be asked by a police officer to blow into a calibrated breathalyzer or intoxilyzer at a police station, which will then provide the operator with an allegedly correct reading.
What is a Blood Test?
Blood testing is a method of measuring the amount of alcohol in your blood at a given time by conducting a chemical analysis of the blood sample. Although this is often considered to be the most accurate and reliable method of testing, errors can occur. A DUI attorney will collect and review this scientific evidence in preparation of a thorough defense.
What is an Extreme DUI or a Super Extreme DUI?
The Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI charges are based off of your alleged blood alcohol concentration. In allowing for these distinct DUI charges, the Arizona State legislature created enhanced mandatory, minimum sentencing penalties. If convicted for an Extreme DUI (BAC .15 or greater), there is a mandatory, minimum 30-day jail sentence along with increased fines and fees. If convicted of a Super Extreme DUI (BAC .20 or greater), there is a mandatory, minimum 45-day jail sentence and even higher fines and fees.
What is an Aggravated DUI?
The Arizona legislature created a felony DUI charge, the Aggravated DUI, to punish repeat DUI offenders; DUI offenders with Motor Vehicle Department restrictions such as a suspended/revoked driver’s license or a required ignition interlock device; and driving under the influence with a passenger under 15 of age in the vehicle. A repeat DUI offender is someone who receives a 3rd DUI conviction in the past 7 years.
The possible punishment for an Aggravated DUI ranges anywhere from supervised probation with a minimum, mandatory 4-month prison sentence to 3.75 years in the Department of Corrections. If a person has multiple, prior felony convictions, the State can seek to punish them with up to 15 years in prison. Additionally, the individual faces a mandatory license revocation.
What is an Administrative Hearing?
Because a driver’s license is more than just a privilege, it cannot be suspended or revoked without Due Process. When faced with the suspension of your driver’s license because of DUI charges, Due Process consists of an administrative hearing conducted by MVD. The purpose of the administrative hearing is to confirm whether grounds for a suspension exist. These hearings differ greatly from court proceedings, and it is important to have an attorney that understands the difference.
What penalties could I face with the Motor Vehicle Department?
If your blood alcohol concentration results are above .08, MVD may suspend your driver’s license for 90 days. If eligible, once you have completed the first 30 days of suspension, MVD can issue a restricted license for work purposes. This license suspension may occur regardless of whether or not you have been convicted of DUI.
If you refused to take the blood, breath, or urine test that the police officer requested, your driver’s license may be revoked for one year. This can also happen regardless of whether or not you have been convicted of DUI.
Remember that you are entitled to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge at MVD in order to challenge a proposed suspension.
If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, you will be required to install and use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle in order to keep your driver’s license. In general, the ignition interlock device must be installed for one year, but if eligible, you may be able to have it removed earlier.