Should You Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?

When you are stopped for DUI, the law officer will likely ask you to undergo a number of tests. It is important to note that the officer must have a valid reason to stop you in the first place. Erratic driving is one of the many valid reasons the officer can stop you over suspicions of DUI.

Once you have been stopped, the officer may then ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This is one of the most common tests performed to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. You may further be asked to undergo a number of field sobriety tests to determine your physical and visual stability.

Many drivers who are charged with DUI tend to think that they can legally refuse a breathalyzer test. Here is a look at the legalities of breath testing and the possible penalties you may face for refusing the test.

Implied Consent for Breathalyzer Test

When you are driving a vehicle in Idaho, this shows your implied consent for a breathalyzer test. Even when you are only in physical possession of the vehicle, the implied consent applies. As per this consent, you have legally permitted the state to ask you submit to a breathalyzer test. When you refuse to undergo the test, you are held in breach of this consent and must face penalties as laid out in the Idaho Code Section 18-8002.

Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

You have to face a broad range of penalties for refusing to take the breathalyzer test. These include:

  • A civil penalty or fine of $250
  • A license suspension of 1 year if this is the first time you refuse a breathalyzer test. For refusing the breathalyzer test for the second time within the lookback period, which is 10 years in Idaho, the penalties are harsher. You then face a license suspension of 2 years.
  • Mandatory installation of a state approved ignition interlock system for 1 year after the end of the license suspension period.

After you have refused the breathalyzer test, you have the legal right to request a hearing within 7 days. At this hearing, you can show why you refused the test. If the court accepts your reasoning, you can avoid the penalties. However, if your reasoning is turned down by the court, you then face all the penalties listed above.

The license suspension in this case is absolute. There is a small exception to this, however. If you take your case to a problem solving court program after serving at least 45 days of absolute license suspension, you can apply for a restricted permit. Such a permit will allow you to drive to and from school, work, or a rehab program. However, this will also be possible after you install an ignition interlock device on all the vehicles you operate.

Reasons You May Refuse a Breathalyzer Test

Although refusing a breathalyzer test carries significant penalties as listed above, there are situations where you may want to consider this option.

The results of a breathalyzer test are usually the first concrete piece of evidence towards establishing that you are driving under the influence. When you refuse to undergo the test, the officer who has stopped you is deprived of this evidence. If there are no other circumstances that incriminate you, the only other thing that is usable against you is the testimony of the officer. In such a case, it may be worth it to risk the penalties of refusing the breathalyzer test.

You can also refuse the test if you think that the officer has unfairly stopped you. The results of a portable breathalyzer are not accepted in a court of law, they only serve as a preliminary piece of evidence for an officer to build a case against you. You can refuse a test on these grounds as well.

However, beware that a law officer may still be able to gather evidence for a DUI arrest. The law basically allows the officer to forcefully take a blood sample from your person and then have it tested for alcohol.

Hiring a Reliable DUI Lawyer in Boise, Idaho

If you have been charged with DUI in Boise, Idaho, our expert DUI lawyers can help you. Here at Hooper Law, we carefully examine all the evidence and circumstances from a DUI arrest. Based on this analysis, we then help you come up with a good defense. If you refused a breathalyzer test, we can also work with you to defend your choice in a court of law. Message us today to discuss your case in detail.

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