Debunking DUI Myths in Arizona: A Guide to Understanding the True Laws and Avoiding Legal Complications

Debunking DUI Myths in Arizona: Protecting Your Rights

There are numerous misconceptions surrounding DUI laws in Arizona that can lead to poor decision-making and potential legal complications. Understanding and debunking these myths is crucial for both residents and visitors in Arizona. In this article, we will address common misconceptions and provide accurate information to ensure you are well-informed about DUI laws and your rights. At The Shah Law Firm, we are committed to defending your rights and providing expert guidance in DUI cases.

How Common are DUIs in Arizona?

DUIs unfortunately occur frequently in Arizona. According to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-1381, it is illegal to drive or physically control a vehicle while under the influence. This includes not only alcohol but also drugs and other impairing substances. In 2019 alone, there were over 27,000 DUI arrests in Arizona. Contrary to popular belief, DUI cases occur more frequently during daylight hours than at night, and seasonal factors such as holidays contribute to a spike in incidents. Shockingly, nearly one-third of all fatal crashes in Arizona involve a drunk or impaired driver, as reported by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Myth: DUI laws don't apply if you're riding a bicycle.

Fact: This is a dangerous myth. Although Arizona Revised Statutes are more lenient towards bicyclists than motor vehicle operators, DUI laws still apply. ARS 28-1381 does not expressly exclude bicycles, which means a person could technically be arrested for a DUI while riding one. Law enforcement can charge individuals with offenses such as public intoxication or disorderly conduct even if they are riding a bicycle. While a DUI conviction on a bicycle might not carry the same penalties as a motor vehicle DUI, the repercussions can still be severe.

Myth: Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will not result in any consequences.

Fact: The belief that refusing a breathalyzer test comes without repercussions is a significant and dangerous myth. Arizona operates under an "implied consent" law, as stated in ARS 28-1321. By driving a vehicle, individuals automatically consent to a lawful request by law enforcement to administer tests determining their blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can lead to automatic license suspension for 12 months, or even 24 months for second refusals within a seven-year period. In some cases, law enforcement can obtain a warrant for blood testing if a breathalyzer test is refused, which can result in the same DUI charges and penalties. Moreover, your refusal can be used against you in court, indicating a consciousness of guilt and potentially making it harder to defend yourself if charged with DUI. Additional criminal charges such as obstructing a police officer may also arise depending on the circumstances of your arrest.

Myth: There are ways to trick a breathalyzer test.

Fact: Many myths circulating about tricking breathalyzer tests can have severe legal repercussions. Using mouthwash, holding your breath, eating spicy foods, or putting a penny under your tongue are all ineffective methods. Breathalyzers are designed based on sound scientific principles and are not easily fooled by these or any other tactics. Consuming mouthwash containing alcohol can actually increase your BAC reading. Holding your breath does not influence the BAC reading, and eating spicy foods or using breath sprays will not interfere with the breathalyzer's accuracy. It's important to remember that relying on these myths may lead to additional charges and a DUI conviction.

Myth: As long as your BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%, you can drive.

Fact: Maintaining a BAC below the legal limit does not ensure safe and legal driving in Arizona. According to ARS 28-1381, you can be charged with a DUI if you are "impaired to the slightest degree," even with a BAC below 0.08%. Factors such as medication, fatigue, and food intake can influence how alcohol affects your ability to drive, regardless of your BAC level. It's essential to understand that there are other types of DUI charges that do not solely rely on BAC, such as impairment from substances other than alcohol or erratic driving behavior. The safest course of action is to avoid driving if you've consumed alcohol or other impairing substances.


Debunking DUI myths is crucial for protecting your rights and making informed decisions when it comes to DUI laws in Arizona. It's essential to understand that DUIs are unfortunately common in the state, and misconceptions can lead to legal complications. At The Shah Law Firm, we specialize in DUI and criminal defense, offering dependable advice and effective legal strategies for each client's unique situation. If you're facing DUI charges or seeking expert guidance, contact us at (602) 560-7408 for a free consultation. We are committed to protecting your rights and providing you with the best defense possible.