Should I take a breathalyzer?

Driving under the influence cases are relatively common. You most likely know someone or even several people who have faced such charges. Everyone has a story and opinion about these types of cases and the best things to do under the circumstances. But no two people are alike and no two circumstances are exactly the same. Particularly when facing an arrest for driving under the influence you may be wondering whether or not you should take a breathalyzer.

As you might expect, there is no simple yes or no answer to this question. In most states it is your right to refuse to take a breathalyzer, but a refusal can come with some serious consequences. Although the police cannot require you to submit to a breathalyzer, driving is considered a privilege not a right, and as such a refusal can often result in losing your driving privileges.

Driving under the influence laws vary widely state to state, as do the potential penalties for failing to submit to a breathalyzer. On average, twenty percent of people nationwide who are suspected of DUI offenses refuse a breathalyzer. In some states you may face a suspended license or even jail time as a result of a refusal. The length of time for your license suspension may also increase for individuals who have had prior DUI charges or convictions.

Although refusing to submit to a breathalyzer may help your DUI case, in that it is one less piece of evidence that may be used against you; the prosecution nevertheless can often still pursue these cases based on other evidence. This could include evidence such as officer observations, witness testimony and field sobriety tests. Further, some states have enacted laws that may force individuals to submit to a breathalyzer based on the issuance of a warrant.

Whether you submit or refuse a breathalyzer, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing DUI charges in order to better understand your case, potential defenses and potential consequences.

Source: Findlaw.com, Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer?, accessed Feb. 12, 2018.

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