When you get pulled over by a police officer and are asked to take a breathalyzer test, you might panic, especially if you’ve had a few drinks. You might wonder if you really have to take the test, or if you can refuse it. You may not feel intoxicated, but worry that you will not pass the test, or that you will be arrested. Let’s walk through what happens if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test.
Implied Consent Laws
Driving in the United States is a privilege, not a right. Your state grants you the right to drive when you meet specific requirements. When you apply for your driver’s license, you agree to certain regulations and conditions called implied consent laws, which include:
- Consenting to blood, urine and/or breath tests when requested to determine blood alcohol content
- Performing field sobriety tests when requested
- Carrying a driver’s license and proof of insurance
So when you’re pulled over, suspected of driving under the influence and asked to take a breathalyzer test, you’ve technically already agreed to the test under implied consent laws. If you refuse the test, you will be in violation of these laws and subject to penalties even if you are not ultimately convicted of drunk driving. Consequences vary by state, but you could be subject to any of the following penalties:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Jail time
- Driver intervention program requirement
- Increased penalties if found guilty of drunk driving or for motorists with past convictions
In an attempt to prevent people from refusing breathalyzers, some states have adopted no-refusal policies which allow them to obtain immediate search warrants to get blood samples to determine if a driver is under the influence. And some states consider the refusal to be an admission of guilt, which leads to more severe penalties if you are convicted of drunk driving during your hearing.
The regulations of implied consent driving law varies from state to state. Learning the particulars of your state laws will help you make an informed decision if you’re ever wondering if refusing a breathalyzer test could have the same (or worse) consequences as consenting to the test. Of course, the only foolproof plan is to never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking.
Drunk Driving Convictions
Intoxalock is here to help you if you are convicted of drunk driving. Our experts are available 24/7 to help walk you through the process, answer questions about your state’s requirements and assist you in finding an installation center. Call us at (866) 501-3694 to speak with an agent.