Different states interpret a driver’s refusal to take a Breathalyzer test differently. In some cases, in acquiring a driver’s license, an individual consents to having their blood, breath, or urine obtained and tested by an officer when drunk driving is suspected. In others, while a driver can refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test or having their blood alcohol content (BAC) tested, there are still penalties for doing so. These may be far less serious than risks associated with blowing over the limit.
In order to be able to make a more informed choice as to whether to complete a Breathalyzer test or refuse it, should you have the option, it’s important to first understand how a BAC is determined. It not only takes into account an individual’s gender and body type, but also how much and when the individual’s last consumption was.
For those who feel that they are relatively sober, they may benefit from taking the test. However, the more drinks one’s had, the higher the chance of blowing at or in excess of most states’ legal limit of 0.08. Any driver that’s consumed more than four drinks has a potential to easily surpass maximum state limits. As a result, these individuals may benefit from refusing to take the Breathalyzer. In most states, doing so results in an automatic suspended license.
When faced with a decision as to whether or not to consent to a Breathalyzer test, it’s important that clients view the totality of circumstances surrounding their situation in doing so. For example, a driver that was told by an officer that they were stopped for driving recklessly who also performs poorly on a field sobriety test may ultimately be adversely affected should they refuse BAC testing. Doing so may result in harsher penalties if and when sentenced.
In contrast, a driver that is suspected of drunk driving not because of erratic driving behaviors, but instead because of a mere smell of alcohol, either on their breath or person, might benefit from refusing such a test.
If you’ve had your license suspended as a result of refusing BAC testing or you’ve been charged with a DUI, a Derry, New Hampshire criminal defense attorney may be able to help you come up with a strategy to defend yourself against the charges that have been waged against you.
Source: FindLaw, “Should I Take a Blood Test or a Breathalyzer Test if I am Asked?,” accessed May 26, 2017