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What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test?

Contrary to popular belief, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. But, this does come with some severe consequences depending on which state you are stopped in. Over 20 percent of drivers pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving refuse the breathalyzer. This is a decision that requires balancing the pros and cons. Most states have implied consent laws which require you to submit to the breathalyzer or face consequences. But the cost of submitting could be a guaranteed DUI charge, which likely carries steeper consequences than refusing to blow. This article will discuss implied consent laws and how they could impact you.

You are bound by an implied consent law when you apply for a driver's license. A driver's license is a privilege, not a right. That means the government regulates how you acquire it, utilize it and how you can lose it. By getting a driver's license, you affirmatively consent to the breathalyzer test if a police officer requests that you take one.

If you "refuse to blow," then the consequences can vary from state to state. Some states suspend your license for a few months. Other states may levy fines or even require a minimum jail sentence.

If you refused the breathalyzer, that does not mean you cannot be charged with a DUI. It only means that you have some wiggle room in your defense. You may want to contact a lawyer to review your options. Regardless of the outcome of the DUI charge, you will still face the penalties for refusing to submit. Implied consent laws, as discussed above, can carry steep consequences, but those penalties are sometimes less serious than if you are convicted of a DUI.

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