What happens if I refuse the Breathalizer?

REFUSING THE BREATHALIZER IN UTAH

If you have been drinking alcohol the best advice to avoid a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is to have a designated driver or take a cab.  This cannot be stressed enough.  However, there are those times where this doesn’t happen and someone is arrested for DUI.  As part of the DUI investigation the driver who is suspected of being under the influence will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).  You have a choice when asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, but your choice comes with consequences.

Automatic Suspension
First, refusing to submit to the breathalyzer will result in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges.  The first time you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer will result in an 18-month suspension.  This suspension period increases to 3 years for a second refusal. This is an absolute suspension.  Since Utah does not issue conditional licenses when it comes to driving you will not be able to legally drive to or from work, the doctor, school, etc.   You will be required to rely on friends, family, and the public transportation system for all of your travel needs.  If you are caught driving on suspension you will face additional suspension time, fines, and possibly jail time.  Additionally, any suspension of driving privileges is consecutive, meaning that additional suspension time is added on to the back of your current suspension.  Meanwhile, if you would have submitted to the breathalyzer, and were eventually found guilty of DUI, your driving privileges would have been facing a suspension for only 120 days (first offense).

Same Results, Different Path
Second, some have the common belief that refusing a breathalyzer will make it more difficult to be convicted for DUI.  This is just not the case.  In Utah, the implied consent law basically states that anyone operating a motor vehicle on Utah roadways automatically gives their consent to submit to testing (breathalyzer) if suspected of driving while under the influence.  Sure, refusing to submit to the breathalyzer may sound like a good idea at first, but this alone will not prevent the State from discovering your overall blood alcohol content.  In today’s world it is a simple matter for law enforcement to receive a warrant to require you to submit to a blood draw to be tested for alcohol content.  This test is more accurate, and is a lot harder to fight at trial.  In the end the prosecutors will have the exact evidence you were trying to keep from them, plus the knowledge that you were trying to prevent them from getting it.  Face it, trying to deny law enforcement evidence never looks good.

Seek Legal Representation
It is understandable that someone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would like to do what they could to avoid conviction.  However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this.  The best way to avoid a DUI conviction is to fight the allegations in Court.  Obtaining experienced and knowledgeable representation is key to this.  Hepworth, Murray & Associates has attorneys with the experience that makes a difference when fighting criminal allegations.  Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation on your case.

 

Michael Hepworth

Michael Hepworth

Managing Attorney at Hepworth & Associates
Michael is the Managing Attorney of Hepworth & Associates, LLC.
Michael Hepworth

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