When an officer requests a driver to take a form of sobriety test, such as a breath analysis test, the driver may feel like they have a right to refuse.
On the contrary, due to implied consent laws, a driver must actually take these tests when an officer administers them. If they fail to do so, they could actually end up facing serious consequences.
What are implied consent laws?
Very Well Mind discusses breath analysis tests in relation to implied consent laws. First, how does the law define implied consent? In short, they apply in situations where a reasonable individual could assume they have given their consent for something even if they do not put that consent in writing or speak it directly.
For driving, an implied consent law exists in which anyone using public roads generally consents to participate in DUI tests if an officer requests one. This can include field sobriety tests, breath analysis tests and even blood analysis tests.
What are the penalties for refusal?
If a driver refuses to comply, then an officer cannot physically force them to complete the test. However, they must warn the individual of potential consequences that may occur as a result of refusal. In most cases, the driver will face a license suspension of up to a year. They may also face fines and fees.
If convicted of the DUI charge, they can also face additional time in jail and fees on top of the penalties for the DUI crime itself. A judge can also use a refusal to take a test as evidence of guilt. In other words, there is no benefit to refusing a test: there are only consequences.