What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Breath Test?
Interviewer: Should you always take the breath test; or should you always refuse it? Does it depend on the circumstances? What are the top permutations that can guide someone to do it, or not?
Shannon: In a video I did a year ago, I offered a good rule of thumb. It is as follows: If you know you are inebriated, or you are sure you want to fight this, then do not provide them with the evidence they are looking for. There is also a consideration I left out of the video that I want to touch on now. That is, for a lot of people, your criminal case is not the only consideration you will have.
Real life circumstances when you receive a DUII include limitations and restrictions of your driving privileges, and suspension of your driving privileges. With a breath test refusal, you are not providing that additional evidence for your criminal case.
However, you are subjecting yourself to a potential lien to your suspension; than you would usually receive if you do not have prior history. The breath test failure is 90 days. The breath test refusal is a year.
Having a hardship permit is going to be difficult for you too if you need to drive for work. If you cannot see yourself being restricted to the 8, 10 or 12 hour limitations, or to other parameters for a hardship permit, then you really need to maintain your regular license. That is something to consider because you would face a longer suspension.
Also, if you had a previous breath test refusal, or a previous breath test failure, then your suspension is going to increase to three years instead of one year. You want to consider your history. You definitely want to consider your need to drive.
If you do not have any prior history and you really do need to drive, then providing the breath test is the best choice for you. In this way, you will only face that less than 90 day suspension.
Every situation is unique. Depending on the circumstances, you are most likely going to be diversion eligible. There are some things that prevent diversion. This includes having a CDL, Commercial Driver’s License; or having history within the last 15 years. If there is a physical injury cause to another, or if you have another person under age 18 in the vehicle, it could bar diversion. You want to consider those things.
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