What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer at a DUI Stop?

When someone is stopped under the suspicion of driving under the influence—whether they’ve been drinking or not—the process can seem daunting. This is especially true when presented with a breathalyzer and field sobriety tests to determine if intoxicated.


Unfortunately, while these tests can be indicators of drunk drivers, for those who are wrongfully accused, they are not always the most accurate signs of intoxication. In fact, they are often inconsistent in their results, prompting individuals to refuse to take them in the first place.


What happens, though, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer when pulled over for a potential DUI? There are some things that you must think about before you do this.

What Is Implied Consent?

Like many of the state in the U.S., Tennessee operates on what is called implied consent laws. When you apply for and receive your Tennessee state driver’s license, you are essentially entering into these laws and consent to submit to any chemical testing of your blood alcohol content levels.


This includes a breathalyzer test.


When you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, the officer conducting the stop has the legal right to request that you consent to the testing. You can refuse to perform the breathalyzer, but it is not without its consequences.


Refusal of a breathalyzer or chemical test can result in the following penalties:

  • Having your driver’s license suspended for a year when you refuse the tests the first time

  • Having your driver’s license suspended for two years when you refuse the tests a second time

  • Having your driver’s license suspended for two years upon refusal if the DUI resulted in someone else’s bodily injuries

  • Having your driver’s license suspended for five years upon refusal if the DUI resulted in someone else’s death


If you’ve been accused of a DUI, it’s important to know your rights. Our Johnson City DUI lawyers are here to help you recognize what defenses you may be able to utilize. Not all testing is accurate, and the wrongful charge of DUI can be damaging to someone’s entire life.


At Meade Law Group, we fight to defend the freedoms of those who have been wrongfully charged with DUI. Let us put your rights first and help to find the most positive solution for your charge.


Call our firm today at (423) 464-7779.


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