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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Refusing a breath test isn't a wise decision

Refusing a breath test sounds like a tremendous way to avoid some serious consequences, doesn't it? Imagine an officer pulls you over on the suspicion of drunk driving, and after asking you to take a breath test you tell the officer "no." Surely that's going to lead to you avoiding drunk driving charges, right?

Well, in a fantasy world, this may work. But in reality, refusing to take a breath test is actually a very damaging decision that can affect you when drunk driving charges are filed.

The first thing to realize about this topic is that implied consent laws usually compel the individual to accept the breath test. When you get your driver's license, you are essentially agreeing to implied consent laws. In exchange, the state allows you to drive. So by not accepting a breath test, you are breaking this "agreement," so to speak.

If you still refuse to take a breath test, then your license will automatically be suspended. The police will still take you in and likely get the evidence they need anyway, likely via a blood test or a court order. Worse still, the prosecution could cite your refusal to accept a breath test in court, damaging your case.

The point here is that refusing to accept a breath test is not a wise decision. There are ways to defend against a drunk driving charge that are far more effective than refusing a breath test. Consult with an experienced attorney if you are accused of a DUI.

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