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Do I have a right to refuse a Breathalyzer test?

If you have been pulled over to the side of the road by a law enforcement officer, it may be because you were driving dangerously and that you were suspected of drunk driving. If this is the case, the law enforcement officer will speak with you to assess your state and may ask you perform certain activities such as walking along a straight line. If, as a result of this assessment, the officer still has reason to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you to perform a Breathalyzer test by blowing into a tube.

Of course, under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to refuse this test on the grounds that it is invasive and personal. You have this right, but you must consider carefully whether refusing such a test is a good idea.

Remember that you will only be asked to perform a Breathalyzer test if the law enforcement officer already believes that you are under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, the refusal of a Breathalyzer test, although it will not prove scientifically that you are under the influence of alcohol, can be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

Refusing a Breathalyzer test will also mean that you will be seen to not be cooperating with the law enforcement officer. You may also be accused of interfering with the investigation by not giving evidence.

If you are confused about the consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test when faced with a DUI charge, you should conduct adequate research. An attorney can help you determine what your legal options and is agreeing to take the Breathalyzer test is the right choice.

Source: Drinking and Driving, "Breathalyzer Refusal – It’s Your (worthless) Right!" accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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