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CT defense lawyerDrinking and driving is never acceptable under any circumstances and justifiably carries serious consequences, even for first offenders. However, there are ways that a person can make things even worse for themselves when they get caught. Refusing a breathalyzer or other sobriety test is at the top of the list - but at the same time, refusing a breathalyzer is not a crime in Connecticut. Either way, enlisting a Stamford DUI attorney will help you ensure your rights are protected.

A Danger to Others

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, you will be asked to take at least one sobriety test, with a breathalyzer being one that is commonly used in the field. It is not against the law to refuse a breath test in Connecticut (though it is in many other states), If you refuse, state law allows for your drivers’ license to be immediately suspended, generally for up to six months’ time for a first offense, with the length of time rising with each offense and refusal. If you are under the age of 18 and refuse a breathalyzer, the license suspension will be 18 months for a first offense.

This may seem too harsh, but Connecticut sees DUIs as very serious, posing a significant danger to the average person. Failure to take a breath or other sobriety test is seen as a failure to acknowledge the potential hazards of driving under the influence, and public policy (the idea that the state should further the well-being of its citizens) requires that law enforcement act appropriately. Connecticut, like most other states, has ‘implied consent’ laws, which essentially hold that anyone who drives on Connecticut roads consents to chemical testing if arrested for DUI.

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CT DUI lawyerIt is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Connecticut when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. (If you are an underage driver, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when your BAC is 0.02 percent or higher).

Under Connecticut’s implied consent law, it is presumed that all drivers have consented to taking a chemical test to determine BAC.

There are three different methods police use to determine a driver’s BAC: breath, blood or urine. Breath tests (using a breathalyzer) are the most common method, but it is up to the arresting police officer to make that call.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Refusing-a-Breathalyzer.jpgA 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.

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Stamford DUI defense attorneyOne of the most prevalent questions drivers arrested for the suspicion of operating under the influence tend to have is whether or not they are permitted to refuse the breathalyzer test upon arrest. The answer to this question is generally straightforward. According to the law in the state of Connecticut, you are within your rights to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over for the suspicion of drinking and driving. However, there are consequences you need to be aware of should you decide to refuse the test.

1. Your Driver’s License Is Automatically Suspended

One of the first consequences you will face when you are found to be operating under the influence is the suspension of your license. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the authority to suspend your driving privileges if you fail or refuse a breathalyzer test or other form of chemical testing. As a first time offender, you will lose your license for six months for failing a test if you are over the age of 21, or for 12 months if you are between the ages of 18 and 20. Younger first time offenders who are 16 or 17 years of age will lose their license for 18 months.

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