The federal government and each individual state have separate bodies of individual laws that have been created, implemented, and enforced to ensure that all American citizens’ rights are protected. In addition to basic laws, Arizona’s legal landscape makes us a “no-nonsense” state when it comes to laws directed at preventing motorists from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. More than just the typical rules of the road, Arizona lawmakers have taken serious steps to prevent drunk driving, and it seems to be making a difference. Even though these laws are working, legislators should not forget that they have a duty to protect residents’ freedoms when crafting laws to ensure that these laws do more good than harm.
Current State of Arizona’s Legal Landscape
A myriad of laws have been enacted in Arizona that affect motorists and their ability to retain their driver’s license after driving under the influence. The first group of laws created were an attempt to limit drunk driving as it focuses on young drivers. Specifically, Arizona has a minimum drinking age of 21, and has zero tolerance laws in place for drivers under the legal drinking age. What this means is that if a driver who is under the age of 21 is found to be driving with ANY blood alcohol concentration, they are in violation of the law and are likely to face arrest in addition to the loss of their license.
Arizona law also allows law enforcement officers to automatically revoke a driver’s license for refusing or failing a blood alcohol concentration test. This law is one that has the potential to severely affect a driver’s ability to freely move around the state. What’s more, in conjunction with the ability to revoke a driver’s license, law enforcement officers also have the ability to arrest a motorist for driving under the influence even if their blood alcohol content is less than the legal limit of .08%. This is known as “impaired to the slightest degree.”
Municipalities in the Phoenix area allow a motorist to be convicted of a DUI offense if the arresting officer can show that the driver was affected by an intoxicating substance regardless of the blood alcohol test results. This law is most concerning for Arizona motorists as it leaves the state of their driver’s licenses in the hands of an individual law enforcement officers’ subjective judgment.
Other states and the federal government seem to be paying attention to what is happening in Arizona and modeling their laws to match. While these laws are intended to make roads safer by protecting against drunk driving and are generally a good idea, lawmakers in all states should pay attention to how these laws are enforced before implementing similar laws in their jurisdictions. The balance between the law and personal freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution must constantly consider whenever a new law has created and implemented. Arizonas laws governing their roadways are some of the most restrictive in the nation; and their effectiveness will continue to be monitored by its own citizens and all Americans.
Sadly, many individuals still choose to drive drunk and get involved in catastrophic accidents. If you find yourself in need of help after a drunk driving accident, call us today at the Thompson Law Firm, PLLC . We will advocate on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.