Should You Submit to a Breathalyzer Test?

glasses of alcohol and car keys

When investigating a DUI, it is likely that a law enforcement officer will ask the driver to submit to a blood alcohol test, such as a Breathalyzer test, in order to determine the amount of alcohol present in the driver’s system.  Should the driver end up being charged with a DUI, the Breathalyzer test results are usually submitted as evidence in court to substantiate a DUI conviction. This is, of course, one reason why many people may be hesitant to submit to a Breathalyzer test.

Should You Submit to a Breathalyzer Test?

Kentucky’s implied consent law essentially states that a person operating a vehicle in Kentucky automatically agrees to submit to a chemical test should he or she be requested to do so by an officer. The law only pertains to a situation where a driver is asked to submit to something like a breathalyzer test by an officer who has reasonable grounds for the belief that the driver is operating a vehicle in violation of Kentucky’s DUI laws.

When considering whether or not to submit to a Breathalyzer test, there are several important things to consider. For instance, while a refusal may make it more difficult for a prosecutor to substantiate a DUI conviction, the driver’s refusal to submit to the test can, in and of itself, be used as evidence at trial. The prosecutor will spin the refusal so as to make it seem as though the driver refused the test in order to hide the fact that he or she was driving while intoxicated.

There is also the possibility of enhanced penalties to consider. While refusal to submit to a lawfully requested chemical test is not an actual crime in Kentucky, it can actually be used as a reason to support enhancing the penalties associated with a DUI. In fact, DUI convictions where the driver refused a chemical test can carry double the normal minimum mandatory jail time. Additionally, a person who refused chemical testing and is facing a DUI charge is unable to plea to a lesser offense.

While refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test may not be a crime, it can carry its own set of consequences. A judge can still revoke a driver’s license for refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test even if the person is found not guilty of the DUI. For this to happen, however, the prosecutor must be able to show that reasonable grounds existed for the DUI arrest to occur in the first place and that the driver refused the lawful request for him or her to submit to the test. The length of time for the suspension will be from one to four months if it was the first refusal. The length of time will increase depending on the number of previous refusals or DUIs that the person has on their record in the past 10 years.

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Posted in: DUI