If an officer has probable cause to believe you are in actual control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the law provides that you will lose your license for a year if you don’t submit to a chemical test. Personally, I find the whole concept offensive and wholly incompatible with the idea of a free society. However, one thing that makes it even worse is that the judge at your admin per se hearing (license suspension hearing) will only consider whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you violated a DUI statute, whether you were arrested, whether you refused or failed to complete an alcohol or drug test, and whether you were informed of the consequences of your refusal or failure. There can be a particularly unjust result when the right to counsel comes into play.
Before I began my legal education, I never would have believed that something like Arizona’s admin per se law could exist in this country. This is America, right? Aren’t we innocent until proven guilty? If I was stopped by an officer who told me I had to either submit to a test or lose my license for an entire year, I wouldn’t have believed him, and I would’ve asked to speak with my lawyer. After all, this isn’t Nazi Germany. Even if I was completely sober, I never would’ve submitted to a test. If an officer is going to try to trick me into taking a test by making up some preposterous law, wouldn’t he also be more than happy to alter the test’s results?
That’s what I would have thought, and my continuing requests for an attorney likely would have resulted in me failing to complete a chemical test. I truly wonder how many people are aware of admin per se, and how many people are skeptical about it when they are pulled over and asked to submit. If anyone has statistics or even anecdotal evidence on this, I’d love to hear about it.