MYTH: You can’t be convicted of DUI if you are sleeping in the back seat of the car.
Arizona DUI law allows for the driver to be arrested for simply being “in actual physical control” of a motor vehicle. Even if you are sleeping in your vehicle, the court may look at certain factors to determine whether you were in actual physical control. Factors include whether you were asleep in the driver’s seat or elsewhere in the vehicle, whether the car was running, where the keys were stored, and the location of your vehicle.
MYTH: Smelling Alcohol on the breath is a reliable indication of your intoxication level.
This is no way to indicate your actual level of intoxication, but it can create a reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated. The officer is likely to conduct field sobriety tests and ask you to submit to a breathalyzer if you smell like alcohol. The officer could also potentially testify in court that you smelled of alcohol at the time of your arrest.
MYTH: You have to be driving to be charged with a DUI.
You only have to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated to be charged with DUI. There are plenty of ways you can be charged with DUI without actually driving, like waiting in your running vehicle or “sleeping it off.”
MYTH: You can operate a boat and not be arrested for DUI.
Arizona’s DUI laws apply to ANY motor vehicle. You can operate a rowboat and not be charged with OUI (operating under the influence), but you can be arrested for operating any boat with a motor while intoxicated. The penalties and BAC ranges for OUI are the same as for DUI.
MYTH: If I refuse to take any tests, the police won’t have any evidence to prove I was Driving Under the Influence.
You can refuse field sobriety tests with no consequences. However, refusal to take a breathalyzer (or other chemical) test will result in an automatic one year driver’s license suspension from the DMV. You will have 2 weeks to contest the suspension after the refusal. The fact that you refused testing can be used as evidence against you, and the officer will more than likely be able to obtain a warrant for testing if you are placed under arrest.
MYTH: The Police Must read me my Miranda Rights to Arrest me.
It is standard police protocol to read every person placed under arrest their Miranda Rights. Most people know this reminder that they have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc. by heart. If the police do fail to read your Miranda rights, any statements you make to the police after that point can be excluded as evidence. However, failure to read your Miranda rights isn’t sufficient grounds to have your charges dismissed.
MYTH: A DUI Conviction “drops off” of my record after 7 years.
A DUI conviction will remain on your record for life. After certain requirements are met post-conviction, you may qualify for a set-aside of your conviction.