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Should You Refuse A Breathalyzer If Pulled Over For A DUI



Should you refuse a breathalyzer if pulled over for a DUI? Despite the advice given by numerous "in the know" experts found at your favorite gathering places, the answer is no. Years ago, before all states toughened their drunken driving laws, the situation may have been different. Today, if you refuse a breathalyzer, you stand a good chance of losing your license - and worse.

How you consented to a breathalyzer without knowing it

A breathalyzer is a type of test that the law has traditionally required people to consent to before the state can administer it. The states don't have the right to test or examine you in any way they see fit. No problem. All state legislatures simply passed laws saying that in exchange for obtaining your driver's license, your consent to a breathalyzer is "implied." That means you don't have to agree, because your state government has already done it for you.

What happens if you refuse?

As usual, it depends on your state's law. You can expect that at the very least, your driver's license will be suspended for a period of time. Some state laws provide that a breathalyzer refusal automatically gets you the highest fines and longest license suspensions available. Some states do provide you with the right to have an independent test conducted by a qualified person of your choice - at your cost, of course. Other states require that the arresting officer must advise you of the penalties for refusing. An officer's failure to do this might get you off the hook. But don't bet on it. The only way to make sure is to talk to your attorney before you get into this tough situation. It could save you a lot of trouble.