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Can you refuse a breath test during a suspected DUI stop?

 Posted on April 12, 2017 in DUI/OWI

Being pulled over by the police is often a nerve-wrecking position to be in for motorists in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Whether or not a driver is fully aware of why they were stopped or not, the driver is likely nervous that they could face a traffic charge. In cases where a driver is suspected of drunk driving, a driver might be unsure what they are required to do and what they may refuse to submit to. While drivers are likely to comply with field sobriety tests, they might be wary when it comes to taking a breathalyzer.

Can you refuse a breath test during a suspected DUI stop? If a driver is asked to submit to a breath test and refuses to comply with this request, the driver could face serious consequences. If an officer has reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence of alcohol and asks a motorist to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine their BAC level, the driver could face a driver's license suspension for refusing to comply.

Even though a driver is not under arrest at the point where a roadside breath test is requested, the prosecution can still base a potential DUI charge on other evidence collected at the scene. This often includes the officer's observations, witness testimony and the results of the field sobriety test. Thus, even if a breath test is refused, a DUI charge could still occur. And, on top of that, a driver could face penalties for refusing the breath test.

It should be noted that when drivers apply for and obtain a driver's license they are agreeing to the implied consent laws connected with the privilege of driving. This means that drivers implicitly consented to a BAC test for the privilege to drive. Thus, a driver is surrendering driving privileges if they refuse a breath test.

Facing a DUI charge can be a difficult predicament to be in, and adding the consequences of a breath test refusal can make the situation much more challenging. Nonetheless, motorists should understand that they have rights and options, and that includes initiating defense options against the charges.

Source: Findlaw.com, " Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test? " accessed April 9, 2017

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