When an officer pulls you over, the consequences may become serious if you have consumed alcohol. A DUI charge may prove detrimental to your college and future career aspirations.
Can you refuse to take a breath test if the officer requests it? If you have the right to protect yourself against self-incrimination, why take a test that may prove your guilt? While it is a choice you have the right to make, refusing a breath test may come with consequences.
The meaning behind implied consent
Drivers must study the rules of the road and pass a test to obtain a license. As part of the process, drivers agree to give a breath sample in a DUI investigation. However, this implied consent is only applicable if the office has probable cause to believe a person is operating the vehicle under the influence. The officer must observe the signs of impairment such as:
- Smell of alcohol
- Empty containers
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
The penalties for refusing a test
A breath test refusal at the scene may lead to your arrest on a DUI charge. Once this occurs, the police may again request a breath test. Your refusal at this juncture may lead to separate penalties from the DUI itself. You may face automatic license revocation for up to one year on the first offense, two years on the second and longer if a crash occurred.
An officer at the scene should inform you that you do not have to take a breath test, but that you may face additional charges.