Is Taking a Breath Test Mandatory when Suspected of DUI?

On Behalf of Law Offices of Thomas Maynard Aug. 28, 2019

When an officer pulls you over for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, it can be stressful and somewhat frightening. In that moment, you may not know what your options are. Do you have to comply with an officer’s demands? Do you have to submit to a breath test? The answers to these questions may surprise you.

Complying with an officer’s demands during a traffic stop is something that seems non-negotiable. It is true, to a point. You do still have rights, though. For instance, you do have the right to refuse sobriety testing, in any of its forms. Just know that there may be consequences for doing so.

Why Some Say Refusal Is Best

There are some people who believe that compliance will go a long way in helping your case. There are others who believe that refusing a breath test is the better option. They think this because breath tests can be very inaccurate. There are a number of things that can affect the test’s accuracy. Some of them include:

  • Administrator error

  • Machine failure

  • Improper maintenance

  • Improper calibration

Aside from those issues, a breath test may give a false readout if you take certain medications, have recently used mouthwash or have recently ingested other non-alcoholic substances. Proving that a test was inaccurate is not always an easy task. This is why some say refusal is best.

Consequences for Refusal

If you choose to say no when asked to submit to a breath test, that does not mean that you will escape arrest and punishment. You may still be under arrest. You may also lose your driving privileges — even if temporarily. With the assistance of counsel, one can deal with criminal and administrative consequences as quickly as possible.

Your Life, Your Decision

At the end of the day, you have to do what you feel is best for you. If you think that refusing a breath test would be better for your situation, go for it. If you believe that complying is the better route to take, do it.

No matter what you choose, no matter the result of your decision, you can defend yourself and your choice in a court of law. This you do not have to do on your own. With the right assistance, you can take the necessary steps to defend your actions and seek the best possible outcome.