When a police officer believes that a driver may be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, they’ll check for signs of impairment. One of the most common tests for driver impairment taught in beginner driving school is a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test helps to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration, also known as BAC.
Police officers can’t force drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test and not every driver decides to partake in the test. However, refusing to comply with a police officer’s request for a breath sample may result in legal penalties.
Implied consent laws and what they mean
In the United States, there are up to 214 million licensed drivers. When these drivers apply for a driver’s license, they are agreeing to the country’s implied consent laws. These laws determine that a driver consents to taking an impairment test if requested by a police officer should they be pulled over on the road with reasonable suspicion.
If a driver decides not to partake in the breathalyzer test or another impairment test after being requested to do so by an officer, the driver’s license may be automatically suspended. Other legal penalties may also be applied to the driver depending on the circumstances.
It should be noted that implied consent laws exist across all 50 states, but the consequences for refusing to take the impairment tests may vary depending on the state in which you live. The standard penalty in most states is a suspension of one’s license for anywhere between six and 12 months. The length of the suspension may go up depending on the driver’s past history of DUI convictions.
Penalties for refusing an impairment test
In a beginner driving course, the types of additional penalties for refusing to take an impairment test in your state may be mentioned. However, it’s important to know other penalties in additional states if you choose to travel.
For instance, in the state of California, a driver may be exempted from a refusal charge if they consent to a blood draw after they’ve initially refused to take a breathalyzer test. However, if the driver continues to refuse to take any test, they may receive a citation. In New York, an additional $500 fine may be applied to an automatic six-month license suspension.
It’s essential to know the driving laws of your state when you’re driving, but especially when taking a beginner driving course, be it an adult driving course or otherwise. You may be pulled over under suspicion of intoxication if you’re not intoxicated.
For this reason, it’s important to understand during your beginner driving course the consequences of refusing an impairment test should you decide to refuse the test. Refusing an impairment test doesn’t automatically convict you of DUI.