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29May

Can I refuse a breathalyzer?

Should I Take the Breathalyzer

Are you wondering, “can I refuse a breathalyzer”? If you get pulled over by a police officer for a first DWI offense, you may be wondering this serious question.

And to answer your question – can I refuse a breathalyzer – we’re going to do a deep dive into the subject. So read on to learn more about whether or not it’s in your benefit to refuse a blood alcohol test from police.

The breathalyzer test is one of the chief ways the police check your blood alcohol when they pull you over because they believe you may be drinking while driving. The short answer is yes you can technically refuse a breathalyzer, but that does not mean you should refuse one.

If you are ready to learn everything, you need to know about refusing a breathalyzer test, grab your computer, and let’s get started on this! 

What Is A Breathalyzer?

A breathalyzer is a type of test police officers administer to you when they believe you may have been drinking before driving. The actual device can take on different designs, but the function always remains the same regardless of its design. The way that the breathalyzer works is quite simple but also prone to errors quite often, sadly. 

The police officer will have you blow into the breathalyzer, where the technology within will oxidize any alcohol on the breath and run it through the device. It will then measure your rough BAC, otherwise known as your blood alcohol concentration. If it is over the legal amount, then you will be charged with a DWI. 

What Will Happen If You Refuse A Breathalyzer?

When it comes to being given a breathalyzer test, it is essential not to refuse it because the consequences can sometimes worsen than just trying to fight a DUI charge itself. If you are pulled over and asked to undertake a breathalyzer test, unless you are ready to face severe consequences for refusing it, you should take it. 

If you do happen to refuse a breathalyzer test, your punishment can range from having your license suspended to being made to serve jail time. That is not counting the punishment that may come your way if you are found guilty of a DUI charge. Just because you refuse, the breathalyzer test does not mean they can not still charge you with a DUI.

They may have you take a blood or urine test at the police station if you refuse the breathalyzer test, which if you refuse that as well, you can face even more severe charges. They can also use witnesses, police officer reports, and any other evidence from the scene to convict you of a DUI, and it will look worse for you if you happened to refuse the breathalyzer test. 

Why Can You Be Punished For Refusing To Take A Breathalyzer?

Within the United States, driving is considered a privilege for the citizens and not a given right. Because of this fact, the state and federal governments are entirely within their right to punish any driver who breaks the laws. The punishment that occurs will be different based on whether r or not you have ever had a DUI before on your record. 

If you do not have a DUI on your record, you will most likely only have your license suspended for around twelve months or receiving a fine. If you do have a DUI on your record, you will most likely not only have your license suspended, but you will also face jail time, typically anywhere between six to twelve months. 

PRO TIP: Read about the average cost of a DWI here.

The ‘No-Refusal’ Breathalyzer Test

In over half of the states in the United States, the no-refusal law for breathalyzer tests has been passed into law. This means that no driver can refuse a breathalyzer test to a police officer with a warrant. So by refusing the breathalyzer test, all you do is hold yourself up even longer and waste more time trying to refuse it. 

All the police officer has to do is send in for a virtual warrant thanks to modern-day technology, and typically after a short wait, they will receive it. With that warrant, that means you are no longer legally allowed to refuse them the test, and if you do so again, you will be arrested for refusing to take the test right there and then. If you live in one of these states, it is better to take the breathalyzer test from the start. 

PRO TIP: Read about important steps to take following a DWI here.

DWI Lawyer for Breathalyzer Refusals

While refusing a breathalyzer test may seem like a good idea at the moment, it is never a smart idea to refuse the test. You are better off just taking the test when the police officer gives you it. You now know if you can refuse a breathalyzer. If you refused the breathalyzer, contact our DWI lawyers at one of our locations closest to you.

Carl Barkemeyer wrote the published book on DWI: Practical Information for the Accused and Attorneys in Louisiana. He regularly gives lectures and advice to other attorneys regarding how to successfully defend clients for DWI.
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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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