One of the most commonly asked questions regarding
driving under the influence (DUI) cases revolves around whether or not a driver should submit or refuse
to take a
breath test. The answer: it depends.
Many states have “implied consent” laws regarding chemical
tests which state that by driving on a state’s roadways, you have
already consented to any breath, blood, or urine test that a police officer
should request in the event of your lawful arrest for DUI for the purposes
of measuring their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). These tests must
be taken as soon as possible from when you were last driving and the officer
may choose which test you take. Refusing to take this test will result
in a lengthy driver’s license suspension, as well as possible mandatory
alcohol treatment and installation of an ignition interlock device in
In most cases, it is unwise to refuse a chemical test as it will only serve
to worsen your situation. While some believe that depriving the prosecution
of evidence will help their case, it is important to remember that the
state does not need to prove that your BAC was over the legal limit of
0.08% in order to secure your conviction, but rather that you were unfit
to drive. Likewise, the prosecution may use your refusal against you in
court as evidence of guilt.
What If I Have Not Been Arrested?
Implied consent laws only apply to chemical tests that are requested
after a person is arrested – not before. During traffic stops, police
officers may sometimes ask motorists to submit to a roadside handheld
breath test in addition to a number of other field sobriety tests. Roadside
breath tests are known to be inaccurate and are mainly for the purposes
of helping an officer gain sufficient probable cause to secure your arrest.
While a police officer may imply otherwise, in most cases, like other
field sobriety tests, roadside breath tests are not mandatory and will
only result with an infraction with a relatively small fine, rather than
more substantial penalties.
In reality, however, refusing a roadside breath test may not be enough
to stop an officer from arresting you. Breath tests are just one of a
myriad of different methods that police officers use to determine if a
driver has been intoxicated. Officers will look for signs of intoxication
such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, flushed face, difficulty responding
to the officer’s questioning, and difficulty balancing when making
their decision to perform an arrest.
Arrested for DUI? Call (816) 607-8860
If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI, it is imperative you retain the
services of a powerful advocate as soon as possible to protect yourself
against possible serious consequences. Backed by 20 years of experience
defending accused clients throughout Missouri and Kansas and a
proven history of success, Kansas City DUI Attorney Steve Schanker can provide the hard-hitting
representation you need to minimize your chances of conviction.
To find out more about why so many clients love him, fill out an online form
today and take advantage of your free initial case review.