As a driver, you may believe that you have the right to refuse tests like breath analysis tests if an officer requests that you take one. You may think that it is within your rights to avoid any test you do not wish to take.
However, calling it an officer “request” paints an incorrect picture of the situation. Even though an officer cannot physically force you to take a breath analysis test, it is not in your best interest to refuse.
Implied consent laws and DUI
As VeryWell Mind points out, refusing a breath analysis test can actually have numerous ill effects for you. First and foremost, it is crucial to know that whenever you use public roads – which make up the majority of the access roads you use to get from place to place – you operate under an implied consent law. This law relates to driving under the influence and specifies that by using the public roads, you consent to taking blood alcohol content (BAC) tests when an officer requests it.
This includes breath analysis tests. As mentioned above, officers cannot physically force you to take a BAC test, which is why they tend to phrase it like a request. However, if you refuse to consent, an officer must alert you to the consequences of doing so.
The consequences of refusal
These consequences can include license suspension of up to a year, points on your driving record, increases in insurance and other fines or fees. Additionally, even if you get off the hook with DUI charges, you must still face the penalty for refusing a breath test. Courts can also use refusal of a test as evidence of guilt, meaning refusing to take a test has no benefit and quite a few downsides for you.