It might seem like the logical option, especially if you’ve been drinking. If you refuse the breathalyzer test, then the police cannot know what your blood-alcohol level is, right? Not only is that incorrect, but you’re setting yourself up for more trouble than just a DUI.
Understanding Implied Consent
In America, driving is a privilege instead of a right. As a privilege, you are also bound by certain rules and regulations. You agree to these each time you renew your license and sign the agreement. This binds you to what is known as implied consent.
Some states print the terms of implied consent on the back of driver’s licenses, but most do not. So, what exactly is implied consent? It consists of four points:
- Carrying your driver’s license and proof of insurance
- Showing both to law enforcement when asked
- Consenting to blood, urine, and breathalyzer tests if asked
- Performing field sobriety tests at an officer’s request
Refusing the Test
You can refuse a breathalyzer test if you wish, but that is a violation of implied consent. Violations come with penalties outside of drinking driving. These can be fines or additional jail time, depending on your state.
Even if you are not convicted of drunk driving, you can still be charged with breaching imp0lied consent. Refusing the test also gives the officer on the scene the right to arrest you, deeming you a potential danger to yourself and other drivers on the road.
Some states have also authorized their officers to immediately confiscate a driver’s license if they refuse the test. This is an administrative action, not a criminal one, making It legal. In other words, you breached your signed agreement and lost your license because of it.
Many states have implemented a no-refusal policy, allowing officers to obtain an immediate warrant from an on-demand judge if you refuse. This means the officer can now search your car and administer a blood test to determine how intoxicated you are.
This policy is most prominent on holiday weekends and other times of the year when drunk driving is more likely. Judges remain ready to take calls around the clock in order to streamline the process. Ultimately, more people end up pleading guilty when no-refusal is in place instead of taking on the DUI trial due to the increase of evidence against them.
Giving the Law Ammunition
There are various jurisdiction within states that count a refusal to take a breathalyzer as evidence itself. In their minds, only an intoxicated person would refuse since a breathalyzer could prove you have not been drinking and driving. This evidence will be used against you in court.
Keep in mind that judges will not look kindly on your case if you refuse the test, either. Legal representation, like these Boulder DUI defense lawyers, help people face minimal penalties and fines. However, the judge may impose maximums for both if you are non-compliant at the scene. While it isn’t fun, taking the breathalyzer test comes with less of a hassle than refusing it.