Should You Take a Breathalyzer When Pulled Over For a DUI or Should You Refuse?
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It’s been said many times, that if you’re stopped for a DUI, don’t take the Breathalyzer test and they won’t be able to convict you. But is that really the way to go? When questioning whether you should take a Breathalyzer test when pulled over for a DUI, there are many conflicting opinions. The answer is not always straightforward and may also depend on the state in which you live.
What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer?
Overall, you can refuse to take a Breathalyzer, but it may not be in your best interests. For example, if you live in the state of Massachusetts, under the new law (Melanie’s Law) all operators must consent to a breath test if they drive in Massachusetts. Consequently, if you are pulled over for a DUI and refuse to take the Breathalyzer, it automatically results in a driver’s license suspension for 180 days for a first offense and can extend to forever depending on your previous driving history. If you live in Texas, you can refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer, but by refusing, you violate the implied consent law, which states that by driving a motor vehicle on Texas roads, you have already consented to chemical testing. In short, your driver’s license may be suspended and charges assessed against you. The refusal can also be used as evidence at a trial. In Rhode Island, if you refuse the Breathalyzer test, your license and/or privilege to drive will be automatically suspended after the arraignment. Also, if you refuse the test, your chances of winning your case are very slim.
Can a Police Officer Force You To Take a Breathalyzer?
In just about every state, even if you refuse a Breathalyzer test, a police officer can take you against your will to the hospital to have blood drawn. But, a Police Officer can only force you to take a Breathalyzer under a few circumstances. If there is a DWI arrest and an accident; if the officer has a reasonable belief that someone has died or will die as a result of the accident; an individual besides the offender has suffered serious bodily injury; the individual arrested for DUI refused to give a specimen voluntarily. The implied consent gives law enforcement the right to demand the test. In addition, refusing to take a Breathalyzer is a separate offense. In most states, you will in all likelihood lose your license for longer than if you had taken the test and failed it. In New Jersey, if you fail a Breathalyzer and are found guilty of a DUI, you would probably lose your license for three months. If you refuse the Breathalyzer and are found guilty of DUI, you would probably lose your license for an average of ten months.
If you’ve taken a Breathalyzer, there is no question that a Breathalyzer test is the strongest evidence in a DUI case. But if you want to keep your driver’s license, in the long run, you may be better off if you submit to the test, especially if you want to be sure to keep your driver’s license.