What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

A breathalyzer is a controversial device that measures blood alcohol content, typically used to support a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Some states have an implied consent law stating that a driver license implies consent to breathalyzer testing during a DUI arrest. Others have instituted safeguards to reduce the number of mistaken convictions based on breathalyzer testing.

Refusing a BreathalyzerWhen an individual refuses to take a breathalyzer test, the law enforcement officer typically records this as refusing chemical testing. Depending on the state, this may be considered a violation requiring driver license suspension or it may be classified as a crime that results in a fine, loss of driving privileges, and jail time. Before refusing to take a breathalyzer test, consult a DUI lawyer.

Implied Consent States

In an implied consent state, refusing a breathalyzer may result in both administrative and criminal penalties. As an example of potential penalties, refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, or Vermont can result in jail time. In most states, refusal will result in losing the driver license for a maximum of one year. Since consequences vary by state, it is wise to consult a local DUI attorney to learn about the applicable regulations.

The legality of implied consent has been questioned and courts have upheld the opinion that laws regarding implied consent are not a violation of rights. This makes it important to retain an experienced DUI lawyer who can plea-bargain to reduce charges. A DUI charge typically sticks whether or not a breathalyzer test was taken, resulting in some consequences. However, everyone is entitled to plead innocent and have a fair trial and a DUI lawyer such as those recommended by DUIRights.com can help.

Even when a breathalyzer test is administered, a court may exclude the results. Courts have thrown out breath evidence because the breathalyzer was not calibrated or maintained properly. If the law enforcement official did not observe an individual for at least 20 minutes prior to administering a breathalyzer test, a court may disregard the results. Breath evidence may also be excluded if the administering officer was not certified to use the device.

When faced with the decision of whether to consent to a breathalyzer test, talk to a DUI attorney. If consent has already been granted, it is not too late. Request a free DUI arrest evaluation from DUIRights.com and ask the recommended attorney about fighting the charge. If you decide to proceed, this lawyer will help throughout the process.

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