Refusing a Breathalyzer in Connecticut
A social drink with friends or family can become a legal headache when the police are involved. Once the lights start flashing in your rearview mirror, that buzz may dissipate, but the alcohol remains in the system. Throughout the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, no matter how erratic you were driving, as the officer approaches the vehicle, substantial evidence of DUI is unavailable. However, if there is reasonable belief of driving while intoxicated, a breathalyzer is requested. You do have the right to refuse. However, refusal does come at a price.
Implied Consent Law
It is true that you are innocent until proven guilty of any crime, yet you must also watch out that you are not breaking a different law in the process of maintaining your innocence. While refusal of a breathalyzer or other chemical test may prevent the procurement of quantifiable evidence, the refusal may be construed as proof of knowledge of breaking the law. In the state of Connecticut, as well as many other states, drivers accept their driving privileges with the understanding of implied consent. The implied consent law says that after an arrest under probable cause of DUI, as a part of your driving privileges, you agree to blood, breath, or urine testing.
Unlike other states, refusal in Connecticut does have less significant effects than many of the DUI punishments. However, if you refuse to submit to the request for testing, you are doing so with the understanding that you are giving up your right to drive. Although you may contest any suspension in court, the standard punishments for a refusal to comply with a breathalyzer or other chemical testing are:
- First time refusal: license suspension of up to six months,
- Second refusal: one-year suspension of license, and
- Third offense: Up to three-year suspension of driving privileges.
What to Do Next
If you have been arrested for DUI and have either refused or failed a breathalyzer test, there is still likely something you can do. The behavior and actions taken following the event may help determine the outcome of the case. It is in your best interest to contact a proven and experienced lawyer to help you navigate the path to the best possible outcome. If you are interested in discussing your options with a Stamford, CT DUI defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Wiener today at 203-348-5846 to take advantage of your risk-free initial consultation.