DWI Chemical Testing: Should I Submit to a Breath Test?

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 your vehicle.

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 25+ 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.