Can you refuse a breathalyzer test in Tennessee?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Drug Charges |

The police are trained to keep communities safe. And part of their duties involves looking out for and keeping drunk drivers off the roads.

If the police have reasonable suspicion that you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, they will pull you over for further investigation. And during the stop, one of the things the police may request is that you take a blood chemical test. Do you have to take this test?

Police cannot force you to submit breath evidence

The police are obliged to respect your civil rights. This means that they cannot forcefully obtain evidence from you. However, refusing to voluntarily take the test has consequences. This is because, like other states, Tennessee applies something known as implied consent law to situations like these. As a result, refusing a chemical test when the police have reasonable suspicion that you could be intoxicated is technically a violation of the law.

Penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test

Your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 12 months as a result of a first refusal. In the wake of a second refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for two years. However, if you are involved in a car crash that results in death and you refuse to take the test, then your driver’s license will be revoked for five years.

What a breathalyzer refusal may mean for your DUI case

DUI and breathalyzer charges are two separate matters. A refusal to take a breath or blood test will not things any better for your DUI case. In fact, the prosecution can still rely on a police report to secure your conviction. Besides, the refusal will only corroborate the prosecution’s claim that you were indeed drunk; otherwise (logic implies), you would have taken the test and proceeded on your way.

Protecting your rights

Drunk driving is a serious offense with far-reaching legal and personal implications if you are convicted. Learning more about Tennessee DUI laws with the assistance of a legal professional can help you construct a strong defense if you are charged with intoxicated driving.


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