“Driving is a privilege, not a right.”
—U.S. Supreme Court

Implied Consent in Arizona

Every person who operates a motor vehicle in Arizona auto­matically gives consent to a test or tests of his blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance. The test or tests may be administered by a law enforcement officer after a person is arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or, if the person is under 21 years of age, for driving with liquor in his body.

A law enforcement officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is driving under the influence may request that the person submit to a preliminary breath test or tests before an arrest.

After an arrest, the person will be requested to submit to one or more tests for the purpose of determining alcohol con­centration or drug content. If the person refuses, he will be informed that his driver license will be suspended for 12 months, or for two years for a second refusal within a period of 84 months, unless he agrees to submit to and successfully complete the test or tests. A failure to expressly agree to the test or to successfully complete the test is deemed a refusal. He will also be informed that:

  1. if the test results show a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or more, his driver license will be suspended for not less than 90 days
  2. his driving privilege may be reinstated following the suspension only if he completes alcohol or other drug screening.

A person who is dead, unconscious, or otherwise in a con­dition rendering him incapable of refusal is deemed to give consent to any test or tests that may be performed by law enforcement.

If a person refuses to submit to a test requested by law enforcement, the test will not be given. In that case, the officer will require the immediate surrender of the person’s driver license, issue an order of suspension, and issue a temporary driving permit that will remain valid for 15 days. The officer will also notify the Department of Transportation of the refusal.

The driver has the right to request a hearing before the Department of Transportation to contest the suspension. The hearing generally must be requested within 15 days after the issuance of the order of suspension. If a request for hearing is not timely made, or if the Department determines to uphold the suspension order after a hearing, the person’s driver license will be suspended for 12 months, or for a period of two years if the suspension was for a second or subsequent refusal within a period of 84 months.

A person who is unsuccessful at a suspension hearing may ask the superior court to review the Department’s decision. However, a driver’s chances of success here are not good, in that the vast majority of suspension orders are up-held by the court.

After completing not less than 90 days of the suspension period and any alcohol or other drug screening that is ordered by the Department, a person whose driving privilege is suspended may apply to the Department for a special ignition interlock restricted driver license.

A person who is issued such a restricted license must maintain a functioning certified ignition interlock device during the remaining period of the suspension. A special ignition interlock restricted driver license is not, however, available to a person whose driving privilege is suspended for a second or subsequent refusal within a period of 84 months, or a person who within a period of 84 months has been convicted of a second or subsequent violation of

  1. driving under the influence
  2. if under the age of 21 years, driving or being in physical control of a motor vehicle while there is liquor in his body.

The above article is an excerpt from Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, 2nd Edition (Fenestra Books, 2012), by Donald A. Loose, republished with the author’s permission. 

Disclaimer: Laws change constantly. Specific legal advice should be obtained regarding any legal matter. The information contained on this website does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created. 

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Donald A. Loose is an Arizona attorney, and the author of Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, and Estate Planning in Arizona: What You Need to Know.  Mr. Loose is a regular guest on radio shows featuring local newsmaker interviews. He may be contacted at don@looselawgroup.com.