Breathalyzer Refusal: Why It Isn't A Good Idea

You may have heard that refusing a breathalyzer test can save you from a DUI charge, or may potentially keep you from losing your license. In fact, you might have actually heard that you should always exercise your right to refuse the breath test if you're pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. While there may potentially be some situations where this is good advice, it isn't true in most cases. Here are several reasons why you shouldn't refuse the breathalyzer.

It Isn't The Only Evidence

You may think that refusing the breath test eliminates any solid evidence that could be used to charge you with a DUI. The truth is, the breath test is usually the final step in a series of tests done by the officer during the traffic stop. It's usually only requested if you have already failed the field sobriety test, which is an indication that you are impaired. In areas with a dashboard video camera, the footage of your field sobriety test can be used as evidence against you even in the absence of an actual blood alcohol reading from the breath test.

You May Be Forced To Subject To A Blood Test

If you refuse the breathalyzer, some states may be able to force you to take a blood test. In those states, there is a process in place to obtain warrants at any hour for a blood test to confirm your current blood alcohol level. This means that refusing the breath test may not eliminate your blood alcohol level from being used in court.

You Will Probably Still Lose Your License

In some states, refusing a breathalyzer during a DUI stop results in an automatic license suspension. You may find yourself facing a longer suspension period for refusing the test than you would have for the DUI conviction.

Refusal Is Uncooperative

Refusing the breath test can make you appear combative or uncooperative to the police officer. Depending on your demeanor, you may face charges for obstruction, resisting or something similar as a result. In some states, refusing is even considered a crime.

Understanding the truth about refusing a breathalyzer may help you avoid potentially costly mistakes if you are ever stopped for driving under the influence. If you're facing charges now, talk with a DUI attorney right away for help with your case. He or she can even help you address mistakes like these with the prosecuting attorney and might be able to negotiate a plea deal for you. Contact a firm like Mesenbourg & Sarratori Law Offices for more info.