When a police officer asks someone to take a Breathalyzer test, the first instinct for many is to flatly refuse — especially if they have been drinking a little.
That’s not always the best choice, though. While a refusal to complete a field sobriety test can’t be used against you in a court of law, your non-compliance with Breathalyzer testing can. Almost every jurisdiction has implied consent laws on the book that label anyone’s refusal to perform a Breathalyzer test as a sign of guilt when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) charges. You don’t want to risk such an offense ending up on your public record.
Understanding laws related to drunk or drugged driving
It’s not uncommon for suspected intoxicated motorists to reference the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects them from self-incrimination when refusing to complete Breathalyzer testing.
Virtually every state has implied consent laws in place. Motorists essentially give their consent to comply with a law enforcement officer’s request to take breath, urine or blood testing that will aid them in determining their blood alcohol content (BAC) in exchange for a state issuing us a driver’s license.
What happens if you don’t comply with implied consent laws?
You can still refuse Breathalyzer testing despite Louisiana’s implied consent laws. You should keep in mind that a police officer is likely to seize your driver’s license if you do, though. Public safety officials will then automatically suspend it for up to a year.
Some jurisdictions do employ “No Refusal” policies on occasion. It’s during periods such as these that law enforcement officers may be able to request your immediate compliance with a Breathalyzer testing by presenting you with a search warrant for a blood sample.
Exercising your rights in your drunk or drugged driving case
Countless motorists here in Shreveport and throughout the Bayou State decline Breathalyzer testing because they argue that they’re merely protecting their fifth amendment rights. Doing so can cause unintentional problems for them, though. A DUI attorney can go over what implied consent laws are as well as the rights Louisiana law affords you in responding to such charges when there’s an automatic assumption of guilt.