We’ve heard it all before, if a police officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer test, can you refuse? Some believe that refusing to do so may be a way of getting out of a potential DUI charge after the fact. Often, the reasoning behind this is that the state would have no concrete evidence to prove that the person was driving under the influence when matters are taken to court.
A Common Myth
It is a common misconception that you can refuse to take a Breathalyzer or blood test in a field sobriety test and not face consequences. In fact, there can be serious ramifications for refusing. Interestingly enough, failing to submit to a field sobriety test may keep you from seeing jail time on the evening you were pulled over. However, the after effect could lead you to face a longer time in jail. Some may choose to refuse the BAC if they have already been convicted for a number of DUIs. The driver may hope that the penalties for refusal may be far less than what may happen if they are convicted for a DUI a third or fourth time.
Regardless of whether a police officer has your BAC from a Breathalyzer, they will still have other evidence from the scene that can be presented in court. The results of your sobriety test will be used as evidence to prove that you were under the influence and ultimately charge you with a DUI. The prosecutor may also bring forth other evidence such as witness testimony from people who were at the scene, including police officers.
Implied consent means that if law enforcement has requested that you take either a blood test or Breathalyzer you must submit to the request. When a person holds a driver’s license, it is “implied” that the driver has already agreed to submit to any sobriety test that is administered by law enforcement. Steep consequences can be the result of refusing a Breathalyzer. Such consequences can include fines, license suspension, and jail time. It is standard in most cases where a driver refuses the Breathalyzer in the field sobriety test, to have their license suspended for 6 months to a year as a result.
If you find that you took the wrong advice from someone, and refused a Breathalyzer, it will be necessary to consult with an experienced attorney, like a criminal lawyer residents can rely on. Many attorneys provide free consultations, making the initial consult of no financial risk to you.