If you find yourself pulled over by a law enforcement officer who suspects you of driving drunk, you have many choices available to you and several decisions you must make. One of the first of these is to submit to, or refuse, a blood, breath or urine test. Refusing to undergo such a test can trigger a number of possible ramifications of which you should be aware.
The law in Louisiana contains a provision known as “implied consent.” Implied consent means that, if an officer makes a legal stop with probable cause to suspect that you were driving drunk, then you must consent to taking a test to determine your blood-alcohol content. The law requires the officer to read you an “Implied Consent Warning,” which states all the possible consequences to you if you refuse to submit to a test. If the officer fails to warn you about the ramifications of refusing, you may later be able to persuade a judge to throw out your refusal and decline to punish you for it.
If the officer gave you with a proper warning, and you still refused, then several things may happen. Refusal to submit triggers an automatic suspension of your driver’s license unless you petition the Office of Motor Vehicles for a hearing, and do so within 15 days of your arrest. Your automatic suspension will last 180 days if this is your first refusal, otherwise the suspension will run 545 days. If it is your first refusal, you may apply for a hardship license after three months. If it is not your first refusal, you are ineligible for a hardship license.
Refusing can, in some situations, be a criminal offense unto itself, even if you’re not arrested for DWI/DUI. If you’ve refused twice before, or if you were in an accident causing death or serious physical injury, your refusal alone can trigger fines of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of as much as six months.
Be aware that the implied consent rule pertains only to blood, breath and urine tests. It does not extend to field sobriety tests. You will incur no punishment if you refuse an officer’s request to take a field sobriety tests.
A chemical test is preferable to a field sobriety test. Note, however, that you generally will not have a choice of which type (blood, breath or urine) of chemical test you will undergo.
Even if you receive no punishment for DWI/DUI, refusing to submit to a chemical test in a case of suspected DWI/DUI can, by itself, present serious negative consequences for you. To minimize the legal damage of your DWI/DUI case and/or your refusal to take a chemical test, you should begin working with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. For assistance with your case, consult the Louisiana DWI/DUI attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We have the knowledge and skill to begin working right away to minimize the harm to you and help you get on with your life.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).
More Blog Posts:
Ignition Interlock Devices and Louisiana DWI/DUI Law, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 21, 2014
Understanding Louisiana Uninsured Motorist Insurance, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 26, 2013