Should I or should I not refuse the Breathalyzer? The age old question wondered by drivers everywhere. The reality is that this question is a little more heavy loaded than answering with a simple yes or no. In a perfect world, we would all hope to never find ourselves in a DUI situation. However, police suspicion and traffic stops make it a reality and even one beer can mean a conviction. But when faced with the decision, we advise to politely refuse taking the Portable Breathalyzer test but to TAKE THE CHEMICAL TEST AT THE STATION. Here’s why:
The officer’s goal is to get a confession
During a pullover, it’s the goal of the officer to get a confession to make the conviction easier. Whether or not you admit to being under the influence, an officer has already pulled you over for suspicion and will be looking for signs of inebriation to give him reasonable cause for suspicion. While reasonable cause will further the investigation, it does not give the officer cause for arrest just yet.
Field Sobriety Test and Portable Breathalyzer Test
Once the officer has probable cause, they will then administer a Field Sobriety Test (FST) and Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT). While the officer has the authority to administer these tests, you have the right to refuse them. Do so in a polite manner. Not only will failing these tests convict you in court, but by no way are they simple to pass – even sober. In fact, these tests are made to fail you. By refusing these tests, the officer cannot use them against you in a court of law.
Rhode Island and implied consent
There is a large downside to refusing the breathalyzer: implied consent. Rhode Island follows the rule of implied consent meaning if the officer arrests you for driving under the influence (DUI) then you will have to take a chemical test at the station. When you get to the station, TAKE THE TEST. If you didnt take a field sobiety test or portable breathalyzer test, the officer has no probable cause to arrest you and a good DUI Lawyer can get the chemical test you take at the station thrown out of court. To convict you of a DUI, the officer only needs probable cause. Refusing an FST or PBT is often enough reason to give officers cause to arrest you for a DUI.
First-time breathalyzer offenders
First-time breathalyzer offenders are sentenced to an automatic 6-month license suspension, 10-60 community service hours and a $200-$500 fine. While these penalties seem harsh, it’s much easier for a DUI attorney to fight your case with no evidence of your BAC.