Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

Unfortunately, drunk driving arrests, as well as DUI convictions have become very common in DC. You have probably read multiple articles saying that you can refuse a breathalyzer test without experiencing any consequences. On the other hand, a bunch of other articles claim that you will face severe consequences, even immediate jail time, if you refuse this test. So what really happens in case of a DWI breathalyzer refusal? Take a look at the real consequences you might face if you decide not to submit your breath sample to a police officer.

Refused to Submit to Chemical Breath Test

If you refuse a Breathalyzer test, you will definitely face legal consequences for your actions. If the police officer suspects you are driving while intoxicated and asks you to submit to a test, you must obey. If not, you can immediately have your driving license suspended or you can even go to jail. Even if you manage not to submit to a Breathalyzer test, the prosecutors may base their case on other evidence. Officer’s observations and witness testimony are considered equally strong DUI evidence as Breathalyzer test evidence or field sobriety tests.

Some states make a distinction between refusing a chemical breath test or refusing a blood, urine, or a breath test after the arrest at a police station or hospital. If you refuse the tests after the arrest, the penalties for your actions will be heavier. Your refusal can also be used against you in a trial. The best way of defending a DWI in DC is to hire an experienced DWI lawyer who can explain your rights to you and navigate you through the legal system.

In most cases, since driving is considered a privilege and not a right, refusing a breath test will lead to license suspension, hefty fines or jail time. According to DC DUI law, the driver has implicitly consented to a breath test because, as we mentioned, driving is considered a privilege and not a right. In exchange for your privilege, you have to consent to a BAC test any time a law enforcement officer asks for it. If you want to find more information about this law, you should check out DC’s implied consent laws. To conclude, if you refuse a BAC test, you are actually surrendering your driving privileges which mean your driver’s license can be suspended. Drivers are usually penalized by suspending their license for up to 12 months. If you have been convicted for DUI before, and you have refused a breath test, the suspension can last longer or you can go to jail.

No-Refusal DUI Enforcement

Drivers usually avoid BAC tests because they want to avoid incrimination. However, many states have adopted a new law, called a “no-refusal” DUI enforcement, which allows the police officer to force the drivers to submit to testing. Of course, the law enforcement needs a warrant before they are authorized to do this. To resolve the issue of a suspect sobering up before a paper warrant arrives; police officers can procure temporary electronic warrants. If a driver refuses a warrant-ordered BAC test, he will face contempt charges.