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If legally arrested for Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI, police in Arizona are permitted and in most cases do, impound your vehicle for 30 days. Generally, the basis for the “legal” arrest is a road side portable breath test. Amazingly, these unreliable tests are inadmissible in court to convict you of the crime but are the sole basis to take from you from your vehicle for 30 days. Because this is a police “taking” of your property, due process of law provides you the opportunity to request a hearing to determine if the cop was right. Sounds good, except the hearing is not with a judge, but rather with another cop!!!! We feel this whole set up is unconstitutional. The problem is that there hasn’t been a court interpretation of it yet.
If the vehicle you were driving, when arrested, was not yours, then the owner can retrieve it immediately. Additionally, if you are married under Community Property laws, your spouse owns ½ interest in the vehicle and can request a hearing and get it out quickly. In almost all other situations, the vehicle remains impounded for 30 days. We at the Weingart Law Firm feel that by choosing to take your vehicle, that the cop has chosen a remedy for the extreme DUI charge and the state is precluded from seeking any further penalty. We mount this defense in all impoundment cases.
Additionally, the best advice, if stopped for possible DUI, is to not take the roadside portable breath test as if you don’t, the cop can’t take your vehicle! There is NO adverse consequence to refusing all road-side tests, especially the PBT.