You get pulled over by the police. You know that you’ve been drinking, and you don’t want to take a breath test because you’re afraid that you’re going to be over the legal limit. You would also rather not do field sobriety tests if you can avoid it.
But the officer does ask you to get out of your car to do these tests, or perhaps they have a portable breath test and want you to blow into it. Are you allowed to refuse? Or do you have to do what the police say in all situations?
You can refuse, but it has consequences
This is when implied consent laws come into focus. Anyone who has a driver’s license has already agreed to these laws. That’s the implied consent. People often say they didn’t realize that, but they’ve already agreed to it simply by getting the license and not understanding the law is not seen as an excuse to break that law.
Under these laws, you also have the right to refuse to take a breath test or to refuse field sobriety tests. You don’t have to take them, and you don’t have to do as the police say.
However, there are consequences to refusing the test. There’s going to be a license suspension. You’re going to be arrested. There are also other laws and situations that may allow police officers to perform certain tests against your will. But even if they cannot do the tests, you can still get arrested and have a license suspension simply for refusing, whether you were impaired or not.
DWI laws are a bit more complicated than people often assume, so make sure you fully understand your legal options.