Refusing a breath test during a DUI stop

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Firm News |

When the police pull you over for suspected DUI (driving under the influence), they might ask you to take a breath test. This test measures the amount of alcohol in your system. While law enforcement can ask you to take the test, you may choose not to do so. However, before you make this decision, it’s important to know what happens if you refuse to take this test.

Implied consent law

Mississippi has an “implied consent” law. This means that you automatically agree to take chemical tests if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence. These chemical tests include breath, blood, and urine tests. 

This law aims to streamline the identification of impaired drivers, enhancing public safety. As such, refusing a breath test can lead to serious consequences, even if you haven’t been drinking.

Immediate consequences of refusing a breath test

If you refuse a breath test, the state will suspend your driver’s license for 90 days for the first refusal. For subsequent refusals, the suspension period increases. 

You might receive a temporary permit, allowing you to drive for 30 days after the refusal. After this period, the suspension begins. Additionally, courts can use your refusal as evidence against you, suggesting you might have been drinking and driving.

Long-term impacts of refusal

Refusing a breath test can have long-term impacts on your life. Car insurance rates often skyrocket following a refusal. Insurers often view refusal as an admission of guilt, and they may consider you a high-risk driver. 

Additionally, refusing the test does not exempt you from a DUI charge, which can lead to a criminal record. This can affect future career prospects and your ability to secure housing or loans. Moreover, you may accrue significant court fees.

The repercussions of refusal often extend beyond the legal system. The stigma can potentially affect personal relationships and your reputation within your community.

Weighing your options

Before deciding to refuse a breath test, think about immediate and long-term consequences. There are additional options you can consider instead of an outright refusal. You can request to take other field sobriety tests instead of the breath test. It may be possible to opt for a blood test, which can be more accurate than a breath test. However, these alternatives still involve law enforcement and potential legal issues. It’s crucial to know your rights and the potential outcomes in these situations.

Refusing a breath test can seem like a way to avoid immediate trouble, but the consequences can be severe and far-reaching. By knowing the potential impacts, you can better navigate these challenging situations. This way, you can handle such encounters with greater confidence and less risk to your future.

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