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No Warrant, No Voluntary Consent…No DUI Blood Test

“State of Arizona v. Hon. Jane A. Butler and Tyler B” Decision: The Impact of the AZ Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona Drivers.

In an unprecedented ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected the Prosecution’s holding that all motorists who drive in Arizona, give their absolute voluntary consent to DUI breath or chemical testing, solely due to the existence of the “Implied Consent” traffic law A.R.S. 28-1321; and that the voluntary consent by a juvenile is not absolute.

This case involved a 16-year-old student who was accused of driving to school under the influence of Marijuana. The student was detained when after school security reported a strong odor of Marijuana in the vehicle, and drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the vehicle. The Court records revealed that the student agreed to have A DUI blood test, only after being handcuffed by police, informed of the existence of the Implied Consent Law, and then instructed that he was required to submit to the DUI chemical test.

The AZ Supreme Court Justices ruled unanimously, that without a clear and voluntary consent immediately prior to the blood collection, the process is unlawful without a warrant, under the Implied Consent Law. The Court decided that the juvenile’s consent was not voluntary in this case. It was decided that a consent is involuntary if police conducting the DUI investigation, advise a driver that they were required to consent to a breath or chemical test under the Implied Consent law as a condition of driving in Arizona.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the voluntary consent by a juvenile was not absolute; and should not be given the same amount of weight as an adult’s voluntary consent. The Justices determined that uncertainties exist regarding the presence or lack thereof, maturity, naivety, peer pressure, vulnerabilities, and negative influences which may impact their decisions.

One Justice, John Pelander concurred “…in view of the various contingencies and uncertainties surrounding determinations by officers in the Field  (and subsequently by courts) on whether express consent of DUI arrestees (particularly juveniles) is voluntary, the safest course of action for law enforcement might simply be to obtain search warrants, when reasonably feasible, for obtaining blood samples in DUI investigations. See A.R.S. §§ 13-3914, -3915, 28-1321(D) (1)…”

The Court made it clear that the “Implied Consent” traffic law A.R.S. 28-1321 gives the driver the choice of voluntarily consenting, or not, to participate in a DUI breathalyzer test or submit to invasive chemical testing. Further it was ruled that a suspect should be informed of the consequences of failing to voluntarily consent. In that, to refuse to consent, would result in the civil penalties that included driver’s license suspension for one year, whether they were found to be impaired or not. This, rather, that using the traffic law as an excuse to require someone, who does not realize otherwise, that they must voluntary consent.

The Justices ruling also included consideration both age, and whether or not the parents had been notified of the matter, and their input on it. However, it fell short of holding that solely the absence of parental notification, would result in an involuntary consent. But, rather, that it be simply as another factor.

Further, the Supreme Court ruling did not address the aspect of a juvenile’s legal capacity to voluntarily consent or whether invasive DUI chemical testing was in violation of parental rights.

DUI Test Lawyer in Chandler, AZ

Any DUI charge in Arizona is a criminal offense. If convicted a person will be exposed to harsh penalties including jail terms, suspension of driver’s licenses, fines, fees, alcohol/substance abuse counseling or treatment, a criminal record and other penalties.

There may be defenses or constitutional issues that apply to your case, and could lead to a suppression of evidence, or dismissal of charges. The most effective way to challenge your charges and protect your rights is to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. If you have been arrested in Chandler for DUI, you should consult an experienced DUI attorney regarding your matter and your needs for legal representation.

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