Should You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test if You Are Pulled Over for a DUI?

Getting pulled over by law enforcement can be overwhelming. It is even more so when you’ve had a drink or two. You may wonder if you have to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical blood test. Technically, you can refuse a blood alcohol test. You do have the right to remain silent and not give testimony against yourself. However, refusing to submit to a BAC test may have different consequences. The law of implied consent applies to refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test.

What Is Implied Consent?

Most states have a law known as “implied consent” that pertains to driving under the influence. By choosing to drive on the public roadway, you consent to certain rules about driving while intoxicated. One of those rules is that you have given your consent to be tested for inebriation by law enforcement. The officer doesn’t even have to tell you this. When you are pulled over for suspected DUI, you have technically already consented to a blood alcohol test, just because you were driving.

What Are the Penalties for BAC Refusal?

State law determines the specific penalties for refusing a blood alcohol test, but the most common consequence is to have your license suspended. You don’t get a trial or hearing; your license is suspended right then and there. It doesn’t even matter if you are later found not guilty of a DUI. You don’t get to plead your case before a judge and your license is immediately suspended. It’s an administrative procedure, separate from the criminal DUI. You generally have to go through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to remove the suspension. In some states, the refusal of a blood alcohol test is a criminal charge separate from the DUI. You could receive double penalties.

What Should You Do When Pulled Over for a DUI?

Typically, if you are pulled over for DUI, you won’t have time to consult with an attorney before the breath or chemical test is administered. You will most likely have to make the decision to take the test or not before you contact a lawyer. If you are intoxicated, you may not be thinking straight. Taking the test can be more evidence of your intoxication. On the other hand, if you only had one drink, you can easily demonstrate that you’re not over the limit. The test may help you.

Submitting to a breathalyzer may be the least objectionable action. Once you are charged with DUI, you can let a skilled lawyer, like a drunk driving lawyer in Bangor, ME, take over to find the best possible outcome.

Thanks to David Bate Law Office for their insight into what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test when you get pulled over.