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Refusing to take a breath test in Arizona has consequences

This Fourth of July, as the fireworks boom, people across Arizona celebrate our nation's founding. And, as with many other celebrations, drinking a cold beer, glass of wine or cocktail is traditional, whether it is at a backyard barbecue, a neighborhood block party or any other celebration. However, driving home after these festivities can cause a person to encounter an unwanted scenario.

That scenario is being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. It is entirely possible for a person to have one or two alcoholic beverages, and still be under the legal limit. But, that does not mean overzealous police officers will not be on the lookout for those they think have overindulged on a holiday that is associated with alcohol.

When a person is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, they may be asked to submit to a breath test to determine their blood alcohol concentration. They may wonder if they must consent to such testing.

In Arizona, part of the privilege of having a driver's license is the implicit consent that one will submit to a breath test if asked to. A person still has the right to say, "no," but there will be consequences.

Under Arizona Statutes, Section 28-1321(B), if a motorist refuses to take a breath test, their driver's license may be suspended for one year. In addition, a motorist's driver's license may be suspended for two years, if it the motorist's second or subsequent incident of refusing to submit to a breath test within the past 84 months.

So, while a motorist can refuse to submit to a breath test, they should understand the consequences. Some may think the consequences are still worth refusing to submit to a breath test, while others will feel that submitting to a breath test is preferable, even if they believe they are not intoxicated. It is a personal decision. But, motorists should be aware of the laws surrounding DUI charges and breathe tests to ensure they can make informed decisions.

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