When an officer asks you to take a breath analysis test on suspicion of drunk driving, what do you think your first reaction may be? Many might want to refuse to take this test, believing there is nothing to gain and everything to lose.
In reality, it is actually the other way around. You have everything to lose by refusing to take a BAC test and not much to gain.
What happens if you refuse?
The National Constitution Center discusses refusal of breath analysis tests. If you insist on refusing to take a BAC test of any kind, including breath analysis tests, then the officer speaking to you has a legal responsibility to alert you to the penalties you may face.
First, you will face a suspension of your license. This will happen no matter what other charges you face or how those cases turn out. This suspension will last one year, which is long enough to disrupt the lives of most people.
If you get convicted of a DUI-related charge, you will also face the possibility of additional time in jail or extra fines due to your refusal to take a BAC test.
Understanding implied consent
But why does this happen? In short, because of something called “implied consent”. This exists in situations where you do not give your explicit – i.e. written or spoken – consent for something. However, a reasonable person could assume you gave consent even without that.
For drivers, you imply that you consent to BAC tests when using public roads. This ensures the safety of all drivers using said road and reduces the overall risk of crashes with intoxicated drivers, benefiting all.