The Law Dictionary

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What If I Refusee To Take a Breathalyzer Test?

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In every state, it is your right to refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. In most states, based on online contributions, refusal to take a Breathalyzer is just a decision that police will note in the likely result of your arrest. The refusal will likely be the direct cause for you to lose your license. The Breathalyzer appears to be step number two or step three in the police procedure for determining how capable or incapacitated you are from being under the influence. The police typically will do the field sobriety testing, walk a straight line, finger to your nose, count backward, and the like before asking about a Breathalyzer, or even a blood test at a local hospital (!!). Several contributors even remark that a person’s eyes are factors in “reasonable suspicion”. One cannot even trust one’s own body.

Please understand that your refusal to take the Breathalyzer will not be the reason for your arrest. It is additional evidence that the police are allowed to collect with your agreement.

How long will you be without your license? That varies by state, but it is easy to find online. A surprising point about the loss of license is that it typically has nothing to do with the state’s courts. Usually it is the state’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, that has the “automatic” rule of suspending the license. This will occur on your first offense. No lawyer is going to be able to reverse it, according to those who have checked and have tried, so the common call is to save your money. You will likely be arrested, given the police see you as unable to drive, or having caused some damage and or injury.

This is a situation where you are essentially considered guilty, and will have to prove that you are not guilty. This will be the point where you need the lawyer.

When you get to court, given you are arrested, and you will likely be arrested, depending on whatever additional events and or damage occurred, your situation could go from bad to worse. Your license could be suspended beyond what the DMV did. The arrest stays on your record. Again, depending on the state, the police may have to provide probable cause and evidence for stopping you, requesting the Breathalyzer, and for arresting you.

There is at least one online site, and likely several more like it, where you can review a chart that estimates where you are on the road to a DUI or worse, depending on several factors, like how much alcohol you have consumed. It even has a chart for each gender. Refer to [].
This site states that each state has set .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI). For commercial drivers, a BAC of .04% can result in a DUI conviction nationwide.

So, let’s do a quick summary. Refuseing the Breathalyzer contributes to your arrest, directly leads to license loss, and is typically viewed as an admission of guilt, fair or unfair. Your best bet? Drive sober, drive safely.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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