Some people may think that an ingenious strategy to avoid giving a police officer your blood alcohol levels is to refuse the breath test. Such a simple denial must be a good strategy for getting off the hook of a DUI, right? Well, actually, that isn’t the case. Sure, you can refuse the breath test if you want to — but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
The first thing to realize about DUIs and your rights is that, actually, you are bound by the law to consent to a breath test when a police officer lawfully pulls you over on the suspicion of drunk driving. It’s part of the deal when you get a driver’s license: the state issues you a license and, in exchange, you agree to “implied consent,” which basically means that you have to agree to a breath test since you agreed to accept a driver’s license.
And yet, you can still refuse a breath test if you want. Here’s the thing, though: refusing that test can be way worse than just consenting to the test and then fighting your case in court.
If you refuse the test, you will lose your license and you will be subject to jail time. Additionally, the police have ways to get the information that the breath test would have yielded anyway. And if that wasn’t enough, the prosecution could even use your refusal against you in court (should your case go that far).
The point is this: know your rights. You have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer any questions the police ask you without an attorney present. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you have been accused of driving under the influence.
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Source: FindLaw, “Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?,” Accessed Oct. 27, 2015