When a police officer stops you on suspicion of DUI, it is easy to panic in the moment. Unfortunately, this can lead to costly mistakes. For example, do you know what happens if you refuse an officer’s request to administer a breath test?
The more you know about breath test refusal, the easier it is to make an informed decision.
Washington’s implied consent law
The state of Washington operates under implied consent, which means that you consent to chemical testing by choosing to drive in the state. You have the right to refuse a breath test, but that refusal comes with consequences.
Refusing a breath test
Refusing a breath test often leads to the automatic suspension of your license. This suspension stands even if you are not convicted of DUI because it results from your refusal, not impaired driving. You might also have to complete a DUI education program if you refuse a breath test during your traffic stop. In addition, prosecutors can use your refusal against you in court. This may affect the outcome of your case.
You have to make split-second decisions when an officer stops you on suspicion of DUI. Make sure you consider the ramifications of your actions and choose your responses accordingly. More than 17% of the arrests in Washington in 2021 were DUI-related. That is the second-highest DUI-related arrest percentage in the country for the year. With such aggressive enforcement of DUI laws, every driver should understand their rights to breath test refusal, especially since such an arrest can have dire consequences.