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Why do police see a breath test refusal as a sign of guilt?

In the past few months, as well as at other times on our blog, we’ve talked a lot about breath test refusals. While we stand firmly behind the idea that you should refuse to take a breath test in order to give you the maximum chance at putting forward a good defense and protecting your rights, not everyone agrees with this belief.

Most people have heard the phrase “if you’re really innocent, then you have nothing to hide.” People who believe that a person should always take a breath test oftentimes apply this line of thought, which insinuates that refusing to take a breath test is somehow a sign of guilt. But it’s not just civilians that think this; police believe it too.

But why? Why do police see a breath test refusal as a sign of guilt? As we explained in a post back in March, an officer may take your refusal as a sign of guilt because it suggests to the officer that you know you are intoxicated and at least have the suspicion that you might be over the legal limit. But as frequent readers of our blog know, this isn’t always the case.

Most people only have a vague understanding of the law and what their rights are in a traffic stop. Fearing a violation of their civil rights, some people prefer to have an experienced attorney at their side before giving police any potential evidence. As many of our Orlando readers would agree, erring on the side of caution and protecting your rights should not be seen as a sign of guilt but rather a sign of intelligence. If only the rest of society would see if this way, then more people might see the value in refusing to take a breath test.



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