The breath tests administered when someone is under suspicion of drunk driving are so entrenched in our society that the Breathalyzer brand has reached the level of Kleenex, becoming the common name used for all breath tests.
You may know the name Breathalyzer, but we think the following three facts are crucial for you to remember if an officer stops you on suspicion of drunk driving.
1. You Can Choose Not to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test
You are within your rights to decide not to submit to a breath test unless the police have a warrant, but there are consequences to making that choice. Refusing to submit to a breath test can result in the revocation of your driving privileges. You will have 10 days to request a court hearing after refusing a breath or blood test.
2. You Will Have To Make That Choice Without the Advice of a Lawyer
Your fifth and sixth amendment rights generally don’t apply to traffic stops. Telling the officers that you wish to speak to a lawyer before submitting to a test can be considered a refusal, exposing you to the consequences that come with that decision.
3. All Tests are Not Treated Equally
The portable breath test administered during a traffic stop is considered a “preliminary breath test”. The “official” breath test is administered using different equipment. Refusing the preliminary breath test will typically not result in the revoking a driver’s license, but refusing the official test will.