What Happens If You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer?
It 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.
But should you agree to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test? That is a complicated question, and it really depends on the facts of your case. Luckily, you have the right to seek legal advice before submitting to a chemical test. You do not have to consent or refuse immediately. Exercise your right to call an attorney.
If you refuse, it is important to understand the consequences. Here are a few things you need to know about refusing to take a chemical test:
- The police officer will note your refusal in the police report, and a third party (often another police officer) will sign to acknowledge that the refusal happened. That report will be sent to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles within three days;
- The DMV will suspend your driver’s license. You have the right to appeal the suspension by requesting a hearing. The hearing officer will review the police report and any evidence you provide and decide whether the police officer had probable cause for the arrest and whether the driver actually refused to take the chemical test. The hearing officer will either approve the suspension or reinstate the license; and
- If you lose at the hearing (or do not contest the suspension,) your license will be suspended for 45 days. Your car will be equipped with an interlock ignition device (IID) after your license is reinstated. How long you have to drive with an IID depends on whether you have had prior DUI arrests.
What Are Some Reasons to Refuse a Chemical Test?
If you have been drinking, you will fail the chemical test and be convicted of driving while under the influence. If you refuse to take the test, then there is less evidence that can be used against you. But there might be good reasons to take the chemical test. That is why you should not make this decision without speaking to an experienced attorney.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
Do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced Norwalk DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today if you are charged with driving under the influence and/or if you refuse to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test. These are serious offenses with serious consequences, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side.