Your Right to Counsel Before a BAC Test in Arizona

Getting pulled over and being questioned by the police can make you anxious. Even if you’re feeling stressed out, you’ll need to remember what your rights during a DUI stop are. One of the most important is your right to counsel before a BAC test in Arizona.

Arizona Laws and Regulations

According to the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, you have the right to speak to your attorney as soon as possible after being taken in custody. Each defendant has the right to consult in private with their legal representative before further criminal investigation proceedings take place.

This means that people who have been taken in custody on DUI charges can consult a lawyer before submitting a breath or a blood test sample.

While Arizona is an implied consent state and individuals will face the repercussions of refusing to do a BAC test, they still have the right to invoke their right to counsel. At this point, a law enforcement professional must yield to the request.

There are several challenges pertaining to this right and the nature of the DUI offense. Police officers have a limited amount of time to collect evidence before alcohol starts dissipating from the blood. Thus, there have been several instances in Arizona during which individuals had to do a BAC test before an attorney could get back to them.

In most cases, the court has ruled in favor of defendants. A two-hour window for the collection of BAC samples has been established by Arizona law. Still, a defendant is entitled to get help from counsel when in custody. A defendant does not have the right to delay the investigation by demanding to speak to a lawyer and if an attorney cannot be reached at the time being, the investigative procedures may be initiated.

DUI Defense Scenarios: Denial of Right to Counsel

It is vitally important to speak to your DUI attorney as soon as you’re taken in custody. If you’re not provided with such an opportunity, a procedural violation would have occurred. Such a violation provides grounds for suppressing evidence and challenging the investigative process.

There have been several cases in which the denial of right to counsel before a BAC test in Arizona has played a critical role.

One of these cases is Holland v. State of Arizona. The defendant was arrested and taken in custody. The right to counsel was invoked before submitting a BAC sample. A police officer, however, refused leaving the room and enabling a private session between the attorney and the defendant. Because of this refusal, the lawyer became incapable of asking critical questions and providing their client with an adequate recommendation about doing the test or refusing it.

The Supreme Court ruled out that the defendant has the right to a private consultation with their attorney. Because the right was violated in the respective situation, the evidence collected by law enforcement professionals was deemed inadmissible.

right to counsel before a bac test in arizonaAnother interesting case is Penney v. State of Arizona. The defendant was taken in custody on DUI charges. When he asked to speak to an attorney, he was given access to a phone and a phone book. The phone book, however, had pages missing and these were the pages that the defendant needed to consult in order to contact their attorney.

Law enforcement professionals refused assistance in the situation. During an appeal, the court ruled out that the defendant’s rights were violated because he hadn’t been provided with an adequate option for contacting his attorney. As a result, the case was dismissed.

You always have the right to talk to an attorney before investigative procedures are initiated. Remember this right to counsel before a BAC test in Arizona, and if you’re ever taken in custody and asked to do a BAC test, insist to talk to your lawyer first. If you’re not provided with such an option, the BAC test results could be challenged in court.