Can I Refuse The Breathalyzer?
When law enforcement pulls a driver over on suspicion of drunk driving, several tests will be administered to determine how drunk the driver is. The only thing you should say is “I WANT TO TALK TO A LAWYER.”
First the police officer will look for obvious signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, red eyes, slow reaction times or the smell of alcohol. If there is any reason to believe that you may be drunk, law enforcement will immediately begin tests on the street to determine your intoxication.
The Field Sobriety TestS
The field sobriety test is often the first test and consists of several exercises that police officers will ask you to perform to test your motor skills and response times. Unlike other tests, this is strictly voluntary, even if police officers lead you to believe that you must complete it. You can refuse this test, but it will not stop the police from requesting you take other tests, including the Breathalyzer. If you request to speak to an attorney before this stage you should do that before deciding.
In the state of Washington, the Breathalyzer test at the scene of the stop is voluntary. However, a refusal to take the official Breathalyzer test at the police station will result in an automatic license suspension for up to a year. Also, this could make your sentencing much more severe if you are found guilty of DUI anyway. Law enforcement can use other indicators and testing, including blood tests at the station with a warrant, to charge you with a DUI. If you are found guilty — even without Breathalyzer evidence — you may face increased minimum mandatory sentencing, as if you had blown .15.
It is important that you ask to speak with your attorney as quickly as possible to learn your rights and avoid making statements that would implicate you in the future and minimize your options.
Attorney Michael E. Zanol fights aggressively to ensure that your rights are protected and any illegally gained evidence is thrown out. It is not uncommon for law enforcement to make mistakes or misleading statements that violate your constitutional rights.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact defense lawyer Mr. Zanol as soon as possible to review your case and the circumstances under which you were charged to ensure that your rights are protected and you achieve the best possible resolution to the case.