DUII: Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer?

Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer?
In a word, Yes. Don’t Refuse the Breathalyzer. If you are stopped for a DUII, the police officer is likely to ask you to take a breathalyzer test, perform field sobriety tests, or both. Never refuse the breathalyzer. By statute, refusing the breathalyzer represents a conclusive presumption of your guilt, and the DMV penalties are more severe. Take the breathalyzer.

Refuse the Field Tests. The breathalyzer is a piece of equipment that gives a reading. Field Sobriety Tests give the officer a lot of leeway for interpretation. You may be sure you’re as sober as a judge, but nervousness, lack of dexterity, poor concentration, bad balance, or other factors could lead to you performing poorly on these tests. The officer’s observations can be used as evidence against you in court. Better to refuse (politely) to take them, and let the officer decide whether or not to breathalyze you.

You Can’t Refuse a Blood Test. The officer might ask a healthcare provider, like an emergency room nurse or a nurse at the jail, to administer a blood test to check for the presence of alcohol in your blood. You can’t refuse that, and you will not have a good defense against its results.

DUII is for Drugs, Too. The officer can also arrest you for Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants other than alcohol—marijuana, cocaine, heroin, what have you. This is another situation where it is advisable to decline the Field Sobriety Tests. You may be arrested, booked, and given a blood test at the jail, but the blood test is not specific as to time where many substances (especially marijuana) are concerned.

Call a Lawyer Immediately. Within ten days of your DUII arrest or citation, the DMV will suspend your license for 90 days to 1 year. You must petition for a hearing within those ten days to challenge the suspension. Driving while Suspended is a costly and pernicious charge, and you don’t want to have them stacking up on your record. Call an attorney right away, so your rights can be protected.

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