Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?


Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

If you’re pulled over under suspicion of drinking and driving, you might feel reluctant to take the breathalyzer test. This is especially true if you know you’ve been drinking. It might make sense not to take the test if you think it’ll yield positive results. However, you will get in much more trouble by refusing the test than you will by simply taking it and then defending yourself in court. Here is what could happen for refusing the breathalyzer test.

Evidence of Guilt

Unfortunately, most states have a bit of a dual law when it comes to DUI charges. On the one hand they say that refusing a breathalyzer isn’t evidence of guilt. However, your refusal can be submitted as evidence, and most people, even if they aren’t supposed to, will take that as an admission of guilt. Basically, it doesn’t look good for you in court if you refused to take the breathalyzer test.

Automatic Suspension

In most states, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test you can have your license automatically suspended. If you’re pulled over for a DUI and you test positive or above the limit on the breathalyzer test, you can put off a suspension by requesting a court date. That ability doesn’t exit for you if you choose to refuse the breathalyzer.

Hefty Fines

Some states impose hefty fines on you if you decide to refuse the breathalyzer test. These fines can range from a few hundred dollars into the thousands. Again, you have few legal options if you choose to refuse the test, so you probably won’t be able to recover those fines. It’s almost always a better idea to simply take the test and defend yourself with a qualified DUI attorney later.


Your car can also be impounded if you decide to refuse a breathalyzer test. In most cases, that impoundment happens right at the scene. You’ll likely also have to serve some jail time. If you do get to the point where you’re allowed to get your car back, you have to pay to get it out of impound, which of course is more money out of your pocket in addition to any fines you’ve already been charged.

Implied Consent

In almost every state, driving on the roads means you agree to a breathalyzer test. It’s called implied consent. If you’re on the road, it’s assumed that you’re consenting to a breathalyzer test. Therefore, refusing to take that test is something like a breach of contract. It’s very important to take the test and handle defending yourself after the fact in a court of law. You will almost always have a better chance of winning your case if you take the breathalyzer test.

Many Defenses Available

A qualified, experienced DUI attorney can challenge everything from the officer’s knowledge of the breathalyzer device, the results themselves, and even the reason you were pulled over. However, none of those defenses will go as far if you refused to take the test. It’s very hard for an attorney to defend someone who refused to provide a breath sample because most people automatically assume you’ve been hiding something, even if they’re not legally supposed to come to that conclusion based on a refusal alone. Don’t limit your defense just because you don’t want to take the test.

A DUI charge is scary, and being asked to blow into a breathalyzer is intimidating. But that’s not a good enough reason to avoid taking it or refuse to do so. Always take the breathalyzer test. You can save your car, your driving record, money, and your freedom. Contact a qualified DUI attorney in your state and get started on your case. Even if you’ve already refused a breathalyzer test, there still may be options for you. Get a quote today and get on the road to freedom again.


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