Driving under the influence is a serious offense and law enforcement officers have the authority to conduct breath tests during traffic stops to check for alcohol impairment.
However, you may wonder about your rights when it comes to taking a breath test. Although you can refuse the test, is important to understand the consequences.
Understanding implied consent laws
Did you know that 13,384 people died in 2021 due to car accidents involving alcohol? In many states, when you obtain a driver’s license, you automatically agree to adhere to implied consent laws. These laws imply that you consent to chemical tests if lawfully stopped on suspicion of a DUI.
Penalties for refusing a breath test
During a DUI stop, refusing a breath test may result in administrative consequences. You could have your driver’s license suspended, and the duration of the suspension is typically longer than the suspension for failing a breath test.
Refusing a breath test does not mean that you avoid legal consequences. In fact, it might make your situation more complicated because prosecutors may use your refusal as evidence against you in court. You could argue that you refused the test because you knew you felt impaired and had had alcohol.
Refusing a breath test does not guarantee a DUI conviction. The officer’s conduct during the stop or the accuracy of the breath test machine may impact the case. You can also challenge the case’s evidence.
The best way to avoid DUI charges is to designate a driver before you begin drinking or call for a ride home if you have imbibed.