DWI Implied Consent
If you are ever pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the police officer will probably ask you to take a breath test. Should the results indicate your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08%, you will then be arrested and charged with DWI.
But what happens if you simply do not take the test? You can’t be charged if you don’t take it, right? Wrong. In fact, due to implied consent laws, refusing to take a breath test can lead to harsher penalties than failing it.
You may not realize it, but when you accepted a driver’s license from the state, you promised to abide by the implied consent law. In other words, you agreed to comply with any police officer if he or she asks you to take a breath test. Therefore, if you refuse to submit to chemical testing—be it a breath, blood or urine test—you will face criminal charges.
A police officer cannot force you to take a breath test unless you were involved in an accident that led to a serious injury or death. Nevertheless, violating the implied consent law is a serious crime, and is punishable by a 180-day license suspension. If you have a prior DWI arrest on your record, the suspension can last up to two years.
In addition to losing your driving privileges, you may still be charged with DWI if you refuse to take a breath test. If convicted of DWI, your license will be suspended for even longer, and you may be sentenced to jail time, community service and/or probation. You can also expect to pay some hefty fines, and may be ordered to attend an alcohol education program as well.
Fortunately, an experienced DWI attorney can help. If you have refused to take a breath test, you should seek legal counsel immediately. With the proper defense, you can fight the charges against you, and may even be able to reduce or eliminate them altogether.