Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
Like many questions asked of lawyers, the answer to the question “Should I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?” is that it depends.
This may not be the most satisfying answer, but it’s the one that any good, responsible lawyer will tell you. Keep reading to find out the factors that should influence your decision.
Consequences for Refusal
There are significant consequences for refusing to take a BAC test:
- 1st refusal: Automatic one-year license suspension
- 2nd refusal: Automatic two-year license suspension
- 3rd refusal: Automatic three-year license suspension
- License re-instatement fee of several hundred dollars at the end of suspension
If you have any previous OVI convictions on your record and refuse a BAC test, the court will likely increase the length of time of your suspension.
These penalties can apply even if you are not convicted of an OVI. This is a very important note: many drivers think that, by refusing to take the Breathalyzer, they are avoiding all penalties by avoiding an OVI conviction; however, they may still end up with penalties from the refusal.
If you do refuse a BAC test, know that all is not lost. You are allowed to appeal an automatic license suspension for a number of reasons.
With all that said, why would you want to refuse to take a chemical test? One reason is that, if you take the test and your results show that your BAC is more than 0.17, the penalties and charges you face will be more severe. Another is that it may be more difficult for prosecutors to build a case against you if you refuse to take all field sobriety and chemical tests.
It is up to you to decide whether or not submitting to a BAC test is in your best interests.
If you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving, the best thing you can do is to calmly cooperate while asserting your rights. Besides giving the officer your identifying information, you are not required to answer such questions as, “Have you been drinking tonight?”
These types of questions are designed so that you incriminate yourself. Instead, you may politely tell the officer that you will not answer any more questions without the advice of an attorney. Remember that, while the officer may seem to be just chatting with you, he or she is actually looking for evidence to use against you. You also do not have to submit to field sobriety tests (such as the walk-the-line or pen tests). It is not a crime to refuse to take them.
After an Arrest
Whatever you decide, know that Casper & Casper is here to help you fight an OVI charge and license suspension.
We are a team of experienced and understanding OVI defense attorneys in Middletown, Ohio who know what it takes to successfully overcome OVI-related charges and penalties.
We’ll work with you to develop a plan for your specific case. Depending on your unique situation, we will advocate to appeal your automatic license suspension or restore driving privileges lost from an over-the-limit test result. We will also work to avoid an OVI conviction or lessen the penalties you face.
If you are facing OVI charges, contact Casper & Casper today for a free consultation. During this consultation, we will listen to you, let you know your options, and help you determine the best path to take to fight your charges.
- Ohio Bar Association: here and here
- Ohio Revised Code: here and here
- Photo Credit: West Midlands Police Flickr via Compfight cc