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Talking DUI: Can I Refuse to Take A Breathalyzer?

Talking DUI: Can I Refuse to Take A Breathalyzer?

If you, more often than not, drive here and there while drinking alcohol, then there’s a high likelihood that you’ll get stopped by the police. And the police might ask you to take a urine test, blood test, or a breathalyzer test.

For sure, your primary reaction might be to execute nothing that’d incriminate yourself. Besides, there’s the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, right? Moving on, you might also be thinking that if the police do not have a blood-alcohol test or breath test results to leverage in court, they’ll have no proof that you’re, for the most part, intoxicated.

Thus, you can’t get a conviction. Refusing and protesting a breathalyzer test is becoming mainstream among drivers. However, is it a good idea to resist the standardized breathalyzer test? Can you even refuse it?

What is Implied Consent Laws

When an individual gets a driver’s license, they are, for the most part, restrained by the implied consent laws in that area of authority. In fact, all fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia, employs this kind of legislation.

As such, if you get suspected of DUI (driving under the influence), you need to submit yourself to various tests to assess your blood alcohol content level. With all that in mind, remember that driving isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, which the state gives you when you carry out specific conditions and regulations.

Implied Consent Laws involves:

  • Submitting yourself for sobriety tests.

  • Bringing a proof of insurance and driver’s license, and presenting them to the law enforcement when asked.

  • Submitting yourself to breath, urine, and blood tests to assess your BAC level.

Can You Refuse to Take A Breathalyzer

Whatever the implied consent laws are in your state, you’re subject to the law enforcement in the country in which you’re driving. Even if you concede to follow these regulations when you obtained a driver’s license, you can still resist or protest to take the sobriety tests.

However, take note that in every state, rebuffing to do such tests is a violation that bears penalties, notwithstanding if you’re, for the most part, a convicted drunk driver or not. After all, it’s the authorities task to keep the roads safe and free from harm for everyone. So, if the police think that you’re a danger to the public and yourself, they can arrest you if you refuse to submit to take the tests.

Unwillingness to Participate can Mean Urgent License Suspension

In some countries, the law enforcement can, like it or not, take your driver’s license immediately as an administrative action. The police can do that because you didn’t comply with your promise to submit to take sobriety tests when you obtained your driver’s license.

You might think that it’s a transgression of your right to jeopardy and being penalized for the same offense twice. However, in most states, confiscation your driver’s license has been, believe it or not, established as an administrative action of the law enforcement and not of the criminal court.

Besides, the state granted you the driving privileges you enjoy, so they can always take them away from you. So, if you’re thinking of refusing the authorities request for breathalyzer tests, your driver’s license can get suspended for about a year. Also, you might have to compensate for penalties and fees before you can retract your license.

Non-Refusal Policy

In some states, they have now created non-refusal policies for which they can get search warrants to take blood samples from drivers who don’t submit themselves to take breathalyzer tests. As a result, more and more drivers have been, for the most part, given guilty pleas and there have been fewer drunk under the influence trials.

Seeking Legal Advice

Even if drivers can resist or protest to take a breathalyzer test, there can be a few severe repercussions for this decision. The consequences of drunk driving, if convicted, can be dire. As such, people need to understand and know what can happen if they won’t submit themselves to take the test.

In this case, you may want to get an experienced and professional DUI Attorney to learn more about the situation and decide how to proceed.


The fact that you will not submit yourself to take the test is a shred of evidence itself. It’s the proof of your guilt. In some states, your refusal can be, like it or not, used against you in the court. If you protest to get tested, the consequences will be more serious. Your refusal can cost you a lot over time. License suspension, more substantial fees, and fines, and in some way longer jail time. So, if you happen to get stopped by the police, then submit yourself to take the tests.

undefinedA licensed lawyer or 19 years, Michael Joseph Aed has been practicing criminal defense almost exclusively for over 15 years. Dedicated to protecting the rights of those accused of crimes. An aggressive, experienced, and dedicated attorney who will make every effort to zealously represent in your time of need no matter how minor or serious the matter may be.