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Refusing a breath test: The facts

Whether a driver is sober or intoxicated, he or she must abide by the implied consent law and submit to chemical testing, or face certain penalties.

When Missouri law enforcement officers pull people over on suspicion of drinking and driving, they may ask the driver to take a chemical test. These tests help officers determine whether the driver’s blood alcohol content level is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Studies show that many roadside breath tests yield inaccurate and unreliable results. However, the state continues to use these tests and requires that drivers submit to taking them when asked under the implied consent law. People who do not abide by this law face certain consequences, which may affect many areas of their lives.

The penalties

When drivers decline to participate in a chemical drug or alcohol test, officers will suspend their driver’s license for at least one year, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. In addition, the driver is required to enroll in and complete a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program, regardless of whether they were actually intoxicated at the time of the incident. Refusing a drug or alcohol test acts as a permanent fixture on a person’s driving record, and must be reported to the driver’s insurance company. Not only can this cause an increase in insurance rates, but it may make it difficult for some drivers to obtain insurance through certain companies. People may also find it hard to find employment in certain industries because of this charge.

Getting back on the road

Some drivers may be able to have limited driving privileges 90 days after having their licenses revoked, depending on the circumstances involved in the case. Once the one-year term has passed, drivers who have one to two previous DWI offenses on their record may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles for at least six months. Interlock devices are installed directly into the vehicle’s ignition system and require drivers to blow into a tube in order to start their vehicles, according to Tech Hive. Drivers who have a BAC level that is over a preset limit will not have access to their car. If the driver should receive another DUI offense during that six-month time period, he or she will have to keep the interlock device on the vehicle for an additional six months.

Seeking legal counsel

Getting charged with a DWI in Missouri can be overwhelming. Whether you were driving while intoxicated or you were charged with refusing a chemical test, you may want to speak with an established attorney in Missouri regarding your legal rights. You may have questions that a criminal defense lawyer can answer, and he or she may be able to help you choose the option that is best for your particular situation.

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