What If I Refuse To Take A Breathalyzer Test?

By Jay White

June 7, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious criminal offense. Refusing a breathalyzer can also lead to serious legal consequences. Furthermore, refusing a breathalyzer is not a surefire defense for drivers who are afraid of prosecution for driving intoxicated. The only way to remain completely safe from DUI charges is to avoid drinking and driving.

In most states, any motorist who refuses a breathalyzer could immediately lose the right to drive. In many states, the police can forcibly take blood samples from DUI suspects. Even without physical evidence like breathalyzer results or blood samples, prosecutors can pursue DUI charges using other forms of evidence. These include officer observations, witness testimony and field sobriety test results. In many jurisdictions, The state can present refusal to submit to a breathalyzer as evidence of guilt during any trial.

Some jurisdictions differentiate between refusing a mobile breathalyzer on-scene and refusing post-arrest testing. In these cases, refusing post-arrest testing carries a more severe penalty. Governments consider driving a granted privilege and not a basic right. The law constrins drivers through the doctrine of implied consent. By accepting a license and driving, the driver implies consent to submit to breathalyzer testing. Therefore, the state can revoke one’s license to drive, even in the absence of a criminal DUI conviction. Essentially, when a motorist refuses a breathalyzer, that motorist gives up driving privileges.

Some states have adopted strict no-refusal statutes for more robust DUI enforcement. No-refusal laws enable police officers to forcibly test drivers after securing warrants. In this era of mobile devices, it is worth noting that judges can issue warrants immediately through electronic means. By refusing to submit to a warranted sobriety test, a motorist risks a contempt of court charge. In addition, police may simply hold down the suspect and take a blood sample by force.

Ultimately, never drinking and driving is the best tactic for perpetually avoiding DUI charges. Certain states still allow DUI suspects to contact attorneys before making decisions about submitting to chemical tests. As with other types of suspects, DUI suspects should contact their attorneys if they have any legal questions. By working together, police and motorists can ensure safe roads while keeping basic constitutional rights well-protected.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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