Due to the seemingly invasive nature of breath analysis tests, you may have a false belief that you have the right to refuse one if an officer asks.
However, this is not the truth. In fact, you can actually face punishment for refusing a BAC test of any kind. But why?
Understanding implied consent laws
The National Constitution Center discusses whether you can or should refuse a BAC test. Though you can, you really should not. Why? Simply put, because you already gave your consent to take a BAC test the second you got on a public road.
In short, public roads operate under an implied consent law. These laws exist in situations where a reasonable person could assume one party gave their consent for something even if they do not have that consent in spoken or written form. For example, when someone makes an appointment to get a vaccine and then allows the doctor to administer that vaccine, implied consent laws apply.
With driving, implied consent laws apply to situations where a driver uses a public road – which most roads happen to be. The driver agrees to take BAC tests if an officer believes it necessary in order to keep the shared roads safe for all drivers.
Penalties for refusal
If you refuse to take a BAC test, the officer must alert you to the potential consequences you face. This includes a loss of license for a year, along with potential additional jail time or fines if you end up convicted of a DUI-related crime.
While there are no real benefits to refusing a BAC test, there are plenty of downsides, making it not worth the risk.