Understanding How To Defend Against A Breathalyzer
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from being forced to give evidence against yourself. Unfortunately, Tennessee and other states have implied consent laws that do just that by requiring drivers to take Breathalyzer tests. While you can refuse, there will be repercussions for doing so.
If you have been asked to perform a Breathalyzer test, call The Law Office of Massey McClusky Fuchs & Ballenger in Memphis as soon as possible. We offer a free initial consultation to explain the Breathalyzer test and discuss defenses.
Should I Take The Breathalyzer Test?
In Tennessee, a police officer can ask you to perform a Breathalyzer test if he or she has a reasonable belief of intoxication. The test is typically performed in the back seat of the squad car. If you refuse to take the test, the following penalties apply under Tennessee’s implied consent law:
- First offense: Law enforcement will revoke your driver’s license for one year. (You can obtain a restricted license.)
- Second offense: Law enforcement will revoke your driver’s license for two years. (You can obtain a restricted license after one year.)
If you refuse a Breathalyzer test following an accident that results in bodily injury, law enforcement will revoke your driver’s license for two years. If the accident resulted in death, law enforcement will revoke your driver’s license for five years.
What If I Failed A Breath Test?
If you took a Breathalyzer test in Tennessee and failed, you still have options. Our lawyers may be successful in challenging and suppressing the results based on several reasons. For example:
- The machine may have malfunctioned.
- The operator may have administered the test improperly.
- If the test was performed near a gas station, your results may have been skewed by breathing ethanol.
- The police officer may have lacked “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause” for administering the test.