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Can You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer?

Posted on September 17, 2019Posted By Russell & Hill, PLLC

You may have seen people on the side of the road going through the motions of a field sobriety test. Perhaps you have seen people on a TV police show taking a breathalyzer test. More interesting, you may have seen them refuse to take one.

Can you refuse a breathalyzer test?

Today, the team at Russell & Hill, PLLC wants to talk about what a breathalyzer does and whether or not you can refuse to take the test when asked by law enforcement. Our Seattle DUI attorneys are ready to help you if you are facing charges, so call us today.

Being asked to take a breathalyzer

Many people in Washington do not realize that they give “implied consent” to take a blood or breath test if they are arrested for DUI. A lawful arrest when an officer has reason to believe a person is under the influence of alcohol or other substance will almost always lead to the officer asking a person to submit to one of those tests. A breathalyzer test must be taken within two hours of driving.

The officer has to tell you that you have the right to refuse to take the test. However, refusal can lead to serious consequences. A refusal to take a breathalyzer test will lead to:

  • One year license suspension for a first offense.
  • Two-year license suspension for a second offense.
  • Three-year license suspension for a third offense.

As soon as you refuse a test, the officer will give you notice of the state’s intent to suspend your license. You can request a hearing to challenge the suspension. A challenge requires a $200 fee, and you have to make your request within 20 days of your arrest. During this time, your license will be marked, and you will have temporary driving privileges for 60 days or until your hearing, whichever event comes first.

Do you have to take a breathalyzer test?

Generally, no, you do not. But those are serious consequences you need to consider. On top of not taking the breathalyzer and the license suspensions, you will still be dealing with the DUI arrest and those associated penalties.

There are some exceptions to being able to refuse a breath or blood test. If you were involved in an accident in which someone was seriously hurt or killed, or if you are unconscious due to the accident, the officer does not have to ask before ordering a test.

Call us today so we can get to work

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges in Washington, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we understand the complexities of these cases and are ready to get to work investigating what happened. We will employ all defense strategies available in your case and work to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. When you need a Seattle DUI attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 1-800-529-0842.

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