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What happens if you refuse a breath test?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2018 | Firm News |

The internet has radically changed the way we consume and distribute information. Because of this, it’s also become a platform for a lot of misinformation. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to defending against drunk driving charges.

A quick trip into the message boards may reveal that refusing a breath, blood or urine test is a surefire way to beat DUI charges. If you don’t give prosecutors definitive evidence, then you can’t be convicted, right?

Wrong! The truth is that refusing a Breathalyzer or other chemical test can have serious repercussions. By no means is it a guarantee of your freedom.

Refusing a chemical test has automatic penalties

In fact, there is only one guarantee in this situation: you will incur some automatic penalties, regardless of what happens with your DUI case. These include:

  • Driver’s license revocation for 90 days and up to one year
  • Possible arrest on suspicion of drunk driving anyway
  • Having your refusal used as evidence against you in criminal court

Keep in mind that revoking your license for chemical test refusal happens no matter what because of Nebraska’s implied consent laws. When you obtained your license, you agreed to the chemical testing of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if police officers have probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusing a chemical test essentially means you’re breaking implied consent laws.

Therefore, revoking your license is the penalty you pay in addition to any criminal DUI penalties you could face. DUI penalties also include license suspension, as well as fines and possible jail time.

Think carefully before refusing

The truth is that prosecutors don’t necessarily need a BAC reading to secure a conviction for DUI. They may use other evidence like field sobriety tests, witness testimony and other observations from before and during your traffic stop to build a solid case against you.

So, the question always becomes, “Should I refuse a Breathalyzer or chemical test?” That question is really besides the point. As this post hopefully illustrates, refusing a breath test will only create additional hurdles for you, though you are well within your rights to refuse. However, doing so won’t make your DUI charges disappear.