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30May

What Happens When I Refuse a DUI Blood Test in Louisiana?

What Happens When I Refuse a DUI Blood Test in Louisiana?
What Happens When I Refuse a DUI Blood Test in Louisiana?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Louisiana, as it is across the United States. If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you might be asked to take a blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Refusing this test can have significant legal and administrative consequences. In this blog post, we will explore what happens when you refuse a DUI blood test in Louisiana and what you can expect in terms of penalties and legal procedures.

Implied Consent Law in Louisiana

Louisiana, like many other states, has an “implied consent” law found in La. R.S. 32:661. This law states that by driving on Louisiana roads, you automatically consent to submit to chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine) if a law enforcement officer suspects you of DUI. The purpose of this law is to facilitate the detection and deterrence of drunk driving, ensuring that drivers who are impaired are identified and prosecuted.

Warrant to Take Blood

If you refuse to take the breathalyzer, urine test, or blood test, the police officer can apply for a search warrant from a judge which will order a nurse to take your blood. You can refuse this blood test, but it is likely the refusal will not be victorious since the officer and nurse may use many people to pin you down and insert the needle in your arm to take blood.

Immediate Consequences of Refusing a DUI Blood Test

When you refuse a DUI blood test in Louisiana, the immediate consequences are primarily administrative but can be severe. Here’s what typically happens:

  • License Suspension: Refusing a blood test will result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. For a first offense, this suspension is usually for one year. If it is your second refusal within ten years, the suspension period increases to two years.
  • Temporary License: You may be issued a temporary license that is valid for 30 days. This allows you some time to prepare for the suspension and make necessary arrangements.
  • Notice of Suspension: You will receive a Notice of Suspension, which details the period of your license suspension and informs you of your right to request an administrative hearing.

Administrative Hearing

You have the right to request an administrative hearing within 30 days of receiving your Notice of Suspension. At this hearing, you can contest the suspension of your license. It’s important to note that the administrative hearing is separate from any criminal proceedings related to your DUI charge.

During the hearing, the following will be considered:

  • Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were operating a vehicle under the influence.
  • Whether you were lawfully arrested.
  • Whether you refused the test after being informed of the consequences.

If the administrative law judge upholds the suspension, you will serve the full suspension period. If the judge rules in your favor, your license may be reinstated.

Criminal Penalties

Refusing a DUI blood test does not mean you escape DUI charges. You can still be prosecuted based on other evidence, such as the officer’s observations, field sobriety tests, and witness testimony. Refusal can also be used as evidence against you in court, potentially leading to harsher penalties if you are convicted.

Penalties for a DUI conviction in Louisiana can include:

  • Fines: These can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the number of prior offenses.
  • Jail Time: Depending on the circumstances and prior offenses, you could face jail time.
  • Probation: You may be placed on probation, which can include mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs.
  • Community Service: DUI convictions often come with community service requirements.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: In some cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense.

Long-Term Consequences

A DUI arrest and refusal to take a blood test can have long-term consequences. These can include:

  • Increased Insurance Rates: A DUI conviction or even just an arrest can significantly increase your auto insurance premiums.
  • Criminal Record: A DUI conviction becomes part of your criminal record, which can impact future employment opportunities, housing, and other areas of your life.
  • Driver’s License Status: Repeated refusals and DUI convictions can lead to longer suspensions and even permanent revocation of your driving privileges.

You Have Two Cases After a DWI Arrest

Refusing a DUI blood test in Louisiana triggers a series of administrative and legal consequences that can significantly impact your life. It’s crucial to understand your rights and the implications of refusing the test. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s highly advisable to seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of DUI laws and to help mitigate the consequences as much as possible. Remember, the best way to avoid these issues is to never drink and drive. Stay safe and make responsible choices.

Hire Experienced DWI Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested for DWI in Louisiana, the Barkemeyer Law Firm can help you. All we do is practice DWI defense. We know all the ins and outs of DWI cases. Feel free to use the contact form or call us at one of our convenient locations.

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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