When an officer pulls you over on a routine traffic inspection, they may find a reason to ask you to take a breath analysis test due to suspicion of DWI. In such a scenario, you may feel as though you have the right to turn this test down, but do you really?
In short, you do not. Implied consent laws make it so you actually have already given your consent to DWI tests before an officer even asks you about them.
What is an implied consent law?
Cornell Law School discusses implied consent laws in a general sense. An implied consent law applies in a situation where a sensible, average person would assume that someone has given their consent, even if they do not verbally say so out loud.
In specific reference to DWI, the implied consent law involves your use of public roads. If you use these roads, you automatically give your consent to DWI tests that an officer may ask you to take. This includes everything from field sobriety tests to breath analysis tests and even blood tests.
Can you refuse?
Of course, an officer cannot physically force you to take a breath test if you refuse to. However, they have a legal obligation to make you aware of the potential consequences you could face if you refuse to take DWI tests. This can include losing your license for up to a year, facing fines and fees, and having your refusal used against you in court as a potential sign of guilt.
If you run into such a situation where you have already refused to consent to a test, consider talking to legal help. They can help you decide what to do next.