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Should I Refuse a Breath Test?


After getting pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, there is a slim chance that you won’t be told to take a breath test. Roadside breathalyzer tests are one of the few ways police can start gathering evidence against you then and there, as the little device will produce a blood alcohol content (BAC) level report on the spot. The question becomes, “Should you submit to a breath test or refuse it?”

Why You Should Probably Refuse Breath Tests

Before you instantly refuse to take any breathalyzer test curbside, ask in clear language whether or not the test is mandatory. If the officer says it is not mandatory, it means you can refuse it without immediate legal and administrative consequences. If the officer says it is mandatory, refusal could result in the instant suspension of your driver’s license, sober or not. Furthermore, mandatory breath tests conducted as a field sobriety test are incredibly rare; if you are told it is mandatory but it shouldn’t have been, any evidence collected afterwards might be inadmissible.

If you are free to refuse the breath test, you should in nearly all situations. The only thing a breath test does is hand evidence straight to the police. No matter what the result says, it is going to the prosecution and they are going to spin it to make you look guilty, i.e. intoxicated to the point where driving is dangerous. Remember that you can get a DUI even if you don’t hit the legal limit of 0.08% for adult motorists. If you were clearly sober, the officer probably wouldn’t have asked you to take the test, either.

In so many words, breathalyzer tests conducted roadside are only there to get you in cuffs, brought to the station, and burdened with criminal charges. However, you should also know that breath tests conducted at police stations are considered chemical tests. Refusing a chemical or blood test will result in your license’s administrative suspension.

For more information about your rights when stopped by the police, call 480.418.0776 to speak to Naegle & Crider PLC. Our Mesa DUI lawyer has a long list of recent case successes and always keeps our clients’ best interests in the center of every case. Contact us today.

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