When pulled over by an officer on suspicion of driving under the influence, they will likely attempt to administer a blood alcohol content (BAC) detection test. Breath analysis tests serve as one of the most common.
Some drivers may feel tempted to say no or refuse to take this test. But this can actually result in even worse consequences in both the long and short term due to implied consent laws.
DUI and implied consent laws
Cornell Law School discusses implied consent laws and how they impact drivers. Implied consent refers to situations in which a reasonable person could assume that they gave consent even if they did not give any explicit or express words of consent.
When it comes to driving and DUI, implied consent refers to the fact that all drivers automatically consent to a breath analysis test – or other forms of DUI testing – whenever they use the public roads of any given state. In short: when a driver hits the road, they have already given consent to take a breath analysis test if an officer asks them to.
Can you refuse DUI tests anyway?
Of course, drivers can still refuse even with implied consent laws. However, this will backfire. First, courts can use it as a sign of guilt, pointing out that refusing to take a BAC test indicates that BAC levels were likely too high. Second, drivers who refuse to take BAC tests can lose their license for up to a year in some states and may face additional fines in others. They will face this penalty even if the DUI charges end up dropped. In short, taking a DUI test will almost always end up better for the driver.