No matter what it's for, being pulled over by an officer is stressful and scary. It may be even more so if you have been drinking. Fortunately, even if pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you have rights. Understanding your rights and knowing what to expect after an arrest or refusal can be valuable information and may even be able to help you in the long run.
Although implied consent laws would have you believe otherwise, you can refuse a Breathalyzer test. While driving is considered a privilege, exercising that privilege comes at the cost of abiding by implied consent laws. In the event you are pulled over on suspicion of intoxication, you can refuse a BAC test, but that decision will almost always cost you your driver's license for up to a year.
The upside to refusing a Breathalyzer is that without one, there is no evidence supporting an officer's claim that you were intoxicated. However, depending on other evidence gathered during the traffic stop, you may still face other serious penalties, including jail time and even the DUI charge you were trying to avoid.
Many factors go into determining each individual's intoxication level and impairment. The same number of drinks may not affect you like they would your spouse or friends. Unfortunately, the standard BAC test does not consider anything but the number. Your gender, size and stomach contents can all affect how BAC impairs you. To prevent your intoxication from being determined simply by a Breathalyzer number, it may be in your best interest to refuse it.
Regardless of if you choose to offer up a Breathalyzer or refuse, a defense against a DUI charge or license suspension may be drastically more successful with the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. With their help, a case can be made that may significantly reduce or even eliminate your charges.