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Happy Labor Day! With DUI Task Forces On Patrol, Know Your Rights

Clouds are rolling past Phoenix as I write this, and I’m crossing my fingers that this heat wave will break just in time for some great events coming up around the Valley:

  • NFL season is beginning (game schedule HERE)
  • First Fridays ArtWalk
  • Coyotes v. Kings game on September 15th (put away your white after Monday, but not for too long)

Phoenix traffic DUI Labor Day weekendWhether you are leaving Phoenix for the holiday weekend, or plan on doing your celebrating here in town, always keep a few important things in mind:

  • School is back in session this weekend. Students are out and about, as well as police DUI task forces. The Phoenix New Times ran this story a few days ago (“ASU’s First Weekend of the Semester: 486 More Arrests in Three Days by Alcohol Task Force, implying that student partying has reached extreme levels. Buried in the article itself is an important fact: out of the 486 arrests, only 85 DUI arrests were made (many arrests were for minors in possession or consumption of alcohol).

This means that the police are putting huge efforts into DUI   task forces during the weekends and holidays when they know people will be out celebrating. Overall, you have a   higher likelihood of being pulled over this weekend, especially in the high-patrolled areas like Old Town Scottsdale or Tempe.

  • By driving a vehicle in Arizona, you are automatically submitting to the Implied Consent Laws here. What is Implied Consent? Essentially if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI and arrested, you are legally bound to provide a blood or breath sample. If you refuse, your driver’s license could be suspended for one year. If you live out-of-state (visiting family/friends, or a student), your Arizona driving privileges may be suspended for one year, and your home state may impose additional driving penalties. Even more, a warrant will be obtained and a blood/breath sample will be taken anyway. If you are arrested, do not refuse the blood or breath test.
  • Above, I explain why you should not refuse to do a blood/breath test under Arizona’s Implied Consent laws. However, there are tests that you should refuse to submit to: Field Sobriety Tests. These are tests like the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand, the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus), and the portable breath test (PBT). These tests can be very subjective, and dependent on entirely unrelated things like prior injuries, being tired, and even age. Yet the results of these tests give an officer probable cause to arrest you. Instead, politely decline and request to speak with an attorney immediately.
  • Plans fall through all the time (designated driver, nighttime plans, etc.), so make backup plans. Find a reliable designated driver to make sure you get home safely. Keep you cell phone battery charged, and input a few numbers for local cab companies into your contacts. Keep some cash on you in case you need a cab. If you happen to live very far away, offer to split the cab fare and crash with a friend who lives nearby. Don’t get stuck without a plan, and don’t get behind the wheel.

Enjoy the weekend and the tail-end of summer! Celebrate away, but drive safe, plan accordingly, and know your rights.

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