Skip to main content
Criminal Defense

What happens when you refuse to take a breath test?

By January 19, 2015November 14th, 2023No Comments

Imagine for a moment that you are driving home after having a few beers at a bar with a few friends. You chose to drive there and now instead of taking a cab or having someone else drive you, you got behind the wheel of your vehicle and drove home. During the drive, a police officer noticed you swerving and eventually pulled you over. He had reasonable suspicion that you were intoxicated, and asked you to take a breath test to confirm your blood alcohol level.

Here’s the question: what happens if you refuse to take that breath test?

There are a few things to note here, and the first is that you are actually compelled to take the breath test. As a condition of accepting a driver’s license from the state, the state requires that you submit to a breath test when asked. So right off the bat, refusing that breath test will get you into trouble.

Now, the consequences and penalties associated with refusing a breath test vary from case to case, but you will lose your license as a result. You’ll also likely face jail time and numerous financial penalties as a result of your decision.

Maybe worst of all is the fact that your refusal will become a major talking point in the courtroom. The prosecutors will likely use your refusal to show the court that you were indeed hiding something, and this could swing the case against you.

Source: FindLaw, “Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?,” Accessed Jan. 9, 2015