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What happens if I refuse a breathalyzer test?

If law enforcement ever pulls you over for the suspicion of drunk driving in St. Louis, you may be tempted to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Although you have the right to say no, doing so could be a mistake, especially if you did not drink or you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is under the legal limit. If you are drunk, a refusal can have serious and long-term complications that can affect the outcome of your situation.

Here are some of the consequences that you face if you refuse a breathalyzer

Suspension of driving privileges 

Immediately upon your refusal to take a breathalyzer test, the officer can request you take a field sobriety test in order to assess your level of intoxication. Police can also issue you a citation that suspends your driving privileges for up to one year if it is your first offense. Even though your driver's license is revoked, there are circumstances that may make you eligible to file an appeal to have it reinstated. 

There may be less evidence 

Refusing a breathalyzer does not mean you have nothing to worry about if you were indeed driving drunk. It just means that there may be less evidence to use against you. Very rarely are DUI/DWI cases open and shut. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, there may be other types of evidence that the prosecution can use to secure a DUI/DWI conviction against you, such as if you were in a car accident and there were eye witnesses, injuries and property damage; or there were field sobriety results and blood samples taken from you. 

Some people who refuse breathalyzers end up with DUI convictions that have tougher sentences. First-time offenders often get criminal records; repeat offenders may end up spending time in jail. All offenders have their driving privileges revoked and must pay fines and restitution. Some of them may also have to complete court-ordered rehab and training classes.

The ramifications of a breathalyzer refusal do not stop there. They can also affect other areas of your life and hurt your employment, housing prospects and relationships. If you are facing DUI charges because of a breathalyzer refusal, you should speak to an attorney about your situation to learn your options.

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