When you are pulled over because an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of the first things you may be asked to do is step out of the car for a field sobriety test. While these often include basic exercises in balance and counting, the officer is also likely to ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. It’s important to understand the implications this could have on your case later on and what happens if you refuse.

A Breathalyzer test that shows a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit is likely to lead to your arrest and DWI charges. While it may be possible later on to dispute the results if there was a fault in the procedure or equipment, it can be an uphill battle. However, you do have the option of refusing to take the test.

Refusing a Breathalyzer test is not without consequences, though. When you get your driver’s license, you fall under the implied consent laws. This means that you have already agreed to take a Breathalyzer test if asked, and refusing to do so can result in having your driver’s license suspended or time in jail. The possible consequences for refusing a breath test depend on whether you have any past convictions for driving under the influence.

Whether you failed a field sobriety test or refused the Breathalyzer test altogether, drunk driving charges are very serious. Talking with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the incident is the best first step to protect your rights and future.

Source: FindLaw, “Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?,” accessed May 11, 2016