It's 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon in Phoenix, and Joe just walked through the door of his favorite restaurant to meet some friends for happy hour. He drove himself to the restaurant. When he is done, he is going to drive to his house in Scottsdale.
At the table, Joe sees everyone has one of the restaurant's signature margaritas in front of them. The waiter comes to the table and asks Joe: "can I get you something to drink?" Before Joe answers this question, I wish he would consider the following facts:
- There is no crime of Drunk Driving in Arizona. Arizona law makes it illegal to drive while Joe is impaired to at least the slightest degree by alcohol. This means that if Joe's ability to drive is impaired to any degree, Joe is technically in violation of the law;
- If Joe is stopped by the police, they will stick a needle in Joe's arm. Regardless of the law on this subject, it has been my experience that if Joe is stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, and the officer smells any alcohol, Joe is going to end up taking a chemical test. Many police agencies are now using blood testing instead of breath testing. If the officer smells alcohol on Joe's breath (or just imagines it), Joe is going to have a needle stuck in his arm and a blood sample will be taken. The results of the blood test will probably take at least 30 days to come back. While Joe is waiting to find out the results of the blood test, he will not sleep very much or very well;
- If Joe refuses the blood test, the officer will get a warrant and forcibly take his blood. Once the officer meets the requirements of Arizona's implied consent law, he may require Joe to submit to a chemical test. If Joe says "no," he will then lose his driver's license for 12 months. Moreover, the officer will then make a phone call to the judge. Within minutes, the judge can then issue a telephonic warrant. If Joe still refuses, he will be held down by several police officers, and a needle will be shoved into his vein.
Now if Joe knew these three things when the waiter asked him: "can I get you something to drink" - how might Joe answer? I think the average Joe would say: "Yes...Diet Coke."