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Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer?

If stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence, an officer will want to check the person for signs of impairment. This almost always means the use of a breathalyzer test.

There are times when a person decides against providing a breath sample. The law states that police officers cannot force a person to take a breathalyzer test.

It is your right to make this decision. However, you need to be aware of what could happen if you refuse. This is where implied consent laws come into play.

When you apply for your driver's license, you agree to implied consent. This means you give police the consent to administer field sobriety tests. If a person refuses to submit to testing, there is a chance that he or she could be subjected to serious consequences.

In Tennessee, refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test will result in the following:

-- First offense: revocation of license for one year.

-- Second offense: revocation of license for two years.

It is important to know your rights if you are pulled over by a police officer and questioned for the possibility of being intoxicated. Knowing how implied consent laws work in your state, along with potential penalties, will help you decide how to deal with being pulled over.

If you refused to take a breathalyzer test, your court case will be more complicated. Once again, it is important to know your rights and what will happen next. This will help you understand which steps to take and what to expect as the days go by.

Source: Department of Safety and Homeland Security, "DUI Offenses," accessed May. 26, 2015

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
3828 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

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