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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Wisconsin?

 Posted on October 08, 2021 in DUI/OWI

OWI Defense Attorney Dodge CountyDrivers in Wisconsin and throughout the United States understand that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doing so may result in an arrest by a police officer and charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Drivers who have been pulled over and are suspected of driving while intoxicated will want to understand their rights and the steps they can take to protect themselves from consequences. Tests used to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) are one issue that these drivers may need to address, and it is important to understand whether a person can refuse these tests or whether they should consent to testing.

BAC Tests and Implied Consent

In Wisconsin and other states, drivers are considered to have given consent to chemical testing of their BAC when they obtained a driver’s license. This means that a driver could potentially face consequences for refusing to take a BAC test. However, it is important to understand that the implied consent law applies to tests that are performed following an arrest rather than to roadside tests performed by a police officer prior to an arrest.

After an officer pulls someone over, they will be looking to establish probable cause, or a legal reason to perform an arrest. In some cases, an officer may decide to arrest a driver based on their observations before or after pulling a person over, such as erratic driving, the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or open containers of alcohol that are visible in the vehicle. In other cases, the officer may ask a driver to breathe into a portable breathalyzer device that will give an estimate of their BAC, or a driver may be asked to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests that are meant to gauge their level of intoxication. Drivers are allowed to refuse these tests, although doing so may be seen as an indication that a driver has been drinking and is afraid to take a test, and this refusal may provide an officer with probable cause to arrest the driver.

After being arrested, a driver will be taken to a police station, where they will usually be asked to take a chemical test that will accurately determine their BAC. Methods of testing may include breathalyzer devices, or a driver may be asked to give a blood or urine sample. These tests are covered by the implied consent law, and if a driver refuses to submit to chemical testing, their driver’s license will be revoked for one year, and they will be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year after their license is restored. In contrast, a first-time OWI conviction will result in a license revocation for six to nine months, and a person will only be required to use an IID if they had a BAC of .15 percent or more. 

Contact Our Ozaukee County OWI Defense Lawyers

By contacting an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested on suspicion of OWI, you can make sure you are responding correctly to officers’ requests and taking the best steps to protect yourself from consequences as much as possible. At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we can advise you of your rights and help you defend against OWI charges, and we can also help you determine whether you can challenge the results of a breathalyzer test or request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. Contact our Dodge County DUI defense attorneys today at 262-303-4916 to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help with your case.






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