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What happens if you refuse a breath test?

You decided to go out for drinks with your friends, but you didn't drink much yourself. That's why you were surprised when an officer decided to pull you over. Initially, he said it was because you had a tail light out, but then he alleged he could smell alcohol. From there, an innocent stop turned to allegations that you'd been drinking.

The officer wants to give you a Breathalyzer test, but do you have to give him a breath sample? You do, because the state has implied consent laws.

Implied consent laws are there to help the police get the samples they need without having to fight or argue with someone who may be intoxicated. When you get a license in Tennessee, you agree to implied consent laws.

By law, you must submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, if you're asked. The police generally ask only for breath tests, but in some cases, urine or blood samples may be requested. Since those are more invasive tests, they may not fall under this law.

What happens if you refuse to give a breath sample?

If you won't give a sample, you'll automatically lose your driver's license for one year on your first offense. If this is not the first time you've refused to give a sample or if it is not your first offense, then you will lose your license for at least two years. If you are involved in a collision and cause harm to another person, you will automatically lose your license for two years. Additionally, if you cause a crash that results in death, you'll lose your license for five years.

Before you lose your license, know your rights. If you do decide not to give a sample, your attorney can help you fight the allegations against you and work to help you get your license returned to you.

Source: TN.gov, "DUI Offenses," accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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