If you are stopped under suspicion of impaired driving in Arizona, the police officer will ask you some questions, check your license, and observe your behavior. If he or she thinks you might have been drinking, you’ll be presented with a breathalyzer and asked to blow into it.

Should you do it? Or should you refuse the breath test?

You can refuse if you want to. Unless the police have a warrant, you are under no legal obligation to take the breath test. But before you refuse, consider this:

In Arizona, if you are arrested for DUI and continue to refuse the breathalyzer, then you’ll have to surrender your license immediately. Moreover, you’ll lose your license automatically for at least a year. For a second or third offense, the suspension period becomes two years.

After 90 days of suspension, you can request an ignition interlock device be installed on your vehicle. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Note that no court conviction is needed to suspend your license. This is because of Arizona’s “implied consent” law. When you apply for your driver’s license, it is implied that you are consenting to submit to a breath test if you are stopped for suspicion of impaired driving. Refusing the test is a violation of implied consent, and license suspension is the automatic penalty.

It’s as quick and automatic as a parking fine, and much more inconvenient.

Therefore, Arizona drivers are advised to take the breath test if requested by the police. The best way to avoid the situation altogether is to not drink and drive, and therefore never give a police officer cause to suspect you.

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