Refusing to take a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) may result in stiffer penalties. That being said, taking a test when your alcohol level is high may also result in stiffer penalties. So how do you know when to submit to a breathalyzer?
Without knowing what the result of the test will be and how your case will ultimately resolve down the line, this is a very difficult question to answer. Here are some things to consider when deciding to blow or not to blow.
Refusing to blow:
Lengthens your initial driver’s license suspension
Can be used in a future case within 6 years to lengthen your initial driver’s license suspension
Lengthens the amount of time that must pass before you are eligible for driving privileges under the initial driver’s license suspension
Lengthens the mandatory minimum jail term if you have a prior drinking and driving related conviction within 20 years
The state may be able to use your refusal as an inference of guilt at trial
Is a misdemeanor of the first degree if you have your commercial driver’s license
Some judges will penalize you for a refusal
Shorter initial driver’s license suspension
Can get driving privileges under the initial license suspension sooner
A high test result increases the mandatory minimum jail term
A high test result requires party plates for driving privileges
A positive test result gives the state evidence against you
Can show higher test results than actual
So, now that I haven’t answered your question, it really does depend on the individual circumstances. Any attorney who tells you to always refuse the breathalyzer is doing you a disservice. Without knowing all of the facts at the moment you are asked to test, it is not possible to accurately advise you how to proceed.
*Note- this blog does not address the portable breath test officers may use