After an officer requests you to take a DUI test, you may feel that it is within your right to refuse. After all, you have the right to refuse officers an opportunity to search your car, right? Why is refusing a DUI test any different?
This is a critical mistake to make. Refusing a DUI test could actually end up in heavy penalties, all because of something called an implied consent law.
The basic definition
The Cornell Law School defines implied consent law. In short, an implied consent law applies in any situation where an average person could reasonably assume that they have given their consent for something even if they do not expressly write or speak their consent.
For example, a person who makes a flu shot appointment keeps that appointment and presents their arm to the doctor administering the shot has reasonably consented to receive the shot, even if no official paperwork or verbal statement gets exchanged.
How it applies to road usage
Likewise, if a driver uses public roads, then the general implication is that they consent to take DUI tests if a police officer requests one in order to preserve the overall safety of drivers on the road.
In short, by using a public road – of which most roads are – then a driver gives the okay to any DUI test, including breath or blood analysis tests. Though an officer cannot physically force anyone to take a DUI test, they must alert anyone refusing to the potential consequences of refusal. This can include fines, additional time in jail if convicted of DUI crimes, and license suspension for up to a year.