As you know, drinking and driving do not mix. If officers believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they can turn your otherwise pleasant day into a legal nightmare. Even worse, if you injure someone in a car accident after you have been drinking, you may face significant liability.
In Missouri, you may not operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08%. The most effective way for an officer to discover your BAC is to request that you take a breath test. When you received your Missouri driver’s license, you provided implied consent for chemical testing to determine if your BAC is above the legal limit.
The consequences of refusing a breath test
Even though you gave implied consent for a breath test, you have the right to refuse one. As you may suspect, though, refusing chemical testing has some consequences. If you decide not to take the breath test, you can expect a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. Still, you usually have an opportunity to appeal the suspension. If you do not have previous DWI arrests, a skilled defense attorney may be able to protect your driver’s license.
Reasons you may want to refuse a BAC test
Choosing to refuse a breath test is a personal decision. After all, when your driving privileges are on the line, you may decide to roll the dice. Nevertheless, there are some reasons you may want to refuse a breath test. Most importantly, without test results that show your BAC above the legal limit, prosecutors may only have the arresting officer’s testimony to offer as evidence. While generally credible, witness testimony is not exactly difficult to refute.
Before conducting a breath test, officers must obtain your consent. While Missouri law operates on the basis of implied consent, you still have the opportunity to refuse. Before you do, though, you should understand the potential legal consequences of both taking the test and refusing it.