The consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test
Being pulled over by law enforcement can be frightening. Whether you are guilty or not, the fact that you’re getting pulled over can make your heart race and your head spin. You might not know how to best protect your rights because you aren’t familiar with the laws. This is especially true when it comes to taking a DWI breath test. You may have read on the Internet or heard from friends that you should always refuse to take one. Or you may have heard that a police officer can force you if he or she has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence.
Let’s clear up some of these rumors. First, refusing to take a breath test can have major consequences. An officer can immediately suspend your license, sometimes for 12 months, and you could even be looking at jail, depending on past convictions. Also, not taking the test doesn’t mean that prosecutors won’t have a case against you in court. They can use all manner of evidence against you, including, but not limited to witness testimony, a field sobriety test and the observations of the officer at the scene.
In this country, it’s not considered a right to drive a vehicle, it’s actually a privilege. Because of this, some states have implied consent laws. This means that by driving a car, you are consenting to a Breathalyzer test.
Of course, each state has its own particular laws governing DWI stops. If you find yourself charged with a drunk driving offense, you don’t want to take it lightly. You may want to consider speaking with an attorney, who might be able to represent you in court.