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Can You Be Convicted Of A DUI For Refusing A Breath Test?


It’s a Friday night, you went out to have a few drinks with your friends and it’s time to head home. You don’t feel as though your ability to drive has been impaired so you get in your car and start heading in the direction of home. Somewhere between the bar and your house, you see the telltale flashing red and blue light behind you. The question here is, if you’re asked to take a breathalyzer test, can you refuse it? More importantly, can you be convicted of a DUI because you refused it?



When it comes to DUI charges, it varies greatly from state to state. However, one thing that most states have in common is the penalties for refusing to consent to BAC testing. While a handful of states do give you the option to refuse the breathalyzer, this is an exception and not the rule. More often than not, when it comes to refusing a breathalyzer, it’s not recommended.

Why You Should Take the Breathalyzer Test

Unless you’re on private property, the chances of you being on a public road are pretty high. When you’re driving on public roads, you’re subject to implied consent, which essentially means that you’re implying your consent to chemical or BAC testing by driving on these roads. This also includes breathalyzer tests.If you ever doubt whether or not you should take the breathalyzer remember this, the officer who pulled you over should be reading you your Chemical testing rights, which will also include the penalties for refusing to submit to testing. Here are some of the penalties that can be levied against you for refusing the breath test.
  • Increased Fines
  • Longer suspension of your drivers license
  • Possible Jail Time
  • Extra Points on your License
To make matters worse, these are added in addition to the punishments for a DUI charge, which means you’re facing extra penalties because of refusing to take the breathalyzer test. When it comes to your DUI trial, some states view this refusal as an admission of guilt which means, you’ve guessed it, there’s a very likely possibility that you’re going to be convicted. Even if you weren’t over the legal limit. All because of refusing to take the breathalyzer. Also, if you’ve already been convicted of a DUI before, refusing to take a breathalyzer can land you in prison for a number of years or even escalate your charges to felony level.

What Should I do if asked to take a Breath Test

Unless you’re very familiar with your state’s DUI laws, you’re probably going to want to just submit to the testing. Failing a breathalyzer test isn’t necessarily the end of the line, as breathalyzers can be very prone to error and malfunction. If you’re asked to take a breath test and you fail, then you’re next step needs to be getting a DUI attorney. With an attorney who’s experienced with how breathalyzers work, as well as a strong familiarity with your state’s DUI laws, you’ve got a better chance of winning in court. Whereas, if you refuse the breathalyzer, you can still face penalties even if you’re not convicted of a DUI. All in all, it’s better to take the test than to suffer the added consequences.
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About the Author

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.


Can You Be Convicted Of A DUI For Refusing A Breath Test? Reviewed by Brandon Oh on 12:29 AM Rating: 5

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