When a police officer flashes the lights of their squad car to pull a driver over that might be impaired, they usually run through a series of tests before arresting them.

The goal of the tests used at a DUI stop are to create probable cause or ample reason for an officer to arrest someone. In the state of Arizona, officers might ask suspects to participate in a breathalyzer test and both standard and non-standard sobriety tests.

Breathalyzer test

As one digests alcohol, it enters their bloodstream. Then, it spreads to both their brain and lungs. This causes alcohol to be in the breath one exhales after consuming alcoholic beverages.  So, a common measure used during DUI stops involves having a suspect blow into a breathalyzer device.

Breathalyzers measure how much alcohol is in one’s breath, or the blood alcohol content BAC) level. If you are in the midst of a DUI stop, then an officer might ask you to provide one breath sample, or breath into the breathalyzer machine several times to determine an average BAC.  In Arizona, it’s illegal to drive under with a BAC over 0.08%.

Sobriety tests

Other tests an officer uses to find clues of impairment, include both standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests. When a suspect performs different tests, officers will often examine how well they follow directions and their ability to keep their balance. Through three standard tests, a driver might have to stand on one leg while counting, walk in a straight line with nine heel-to-toe steps and or follow a moving object with their eyes.

There are also a variety of alternative tests that an officer might choose to administer as well, including having a driver recite some or all of the alphabet or count backwards.

If you or a loved one are facing a DUI charge after performing any combination of a breathalyzer or sobriety tests, then a criminal defense attorney can help defend your case.