Police officers have a standard procedure for dealing with different suspicions. There are federal and state laws that mandate their behavior and the steps they must take throughout an investigation. When it comes to dealing with drunk drivers, the police must gather evidence quickly to confirm that the driver is driving under the influence. They have an array of tools at their disposal, but perhaps the most important are the breathalyzer, blood and urine tests. The only way to prove someone is driving impaired is to administer one of these tests. So, what if the driver refuses to submit? Take a look at how this could affect the driver’s defense.
Implied Consent Laws
Driving is a privilege reserved for those who can pass driving-related tests and become licensed. One of the things you agree to when you get your license is that you will agree to take a blood, breath or urine test if an officer asks. This is known as implied consent, and every state operates under it. It is every driver’s duty to maintain control of the vehicle and do what they can to keep others safe on the road. As such, driving under the influence is a direct violation of this promise not to harm other people.
Refusing the Test
When you are asked to take a breathalyzer or go to the hospital for other testing, the officer still has the suspicion you are intoxicated. They need the results of the testing to give them proof of this suspicion. Do not believe though that refusing to take a test means you are safe from arrest. In fact, it is quite the opposite. When you refuse to take a test, the officer may go ahead and arrest you based on their observations and reasonable suspicion they have. In some states, refusing a blood or breath test is equivalent to an admission of guilt.
Penalties for Refusing To Test
There is an immediate penalty when you do not agree to take a breath or blood test. The officer will confiscate your license, and the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend it for a year. Even if your DUI case gets thrown out, your license may remain suspended. If you wind up being found guilty of driving impaired, refusing to test may make your penalty harsher.
Concerns about what you should and shouldn’t do at a DUI stop should be addressed to a criminal lawyer in Civic Center San Francisco, CA. They will be able to provide you with more insight into how to handle the situation.
Thanks to Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and declining a breathalyzer test.