When an officer pulls you over and suspects you of driving under the influence, they may ask you to take a breath analysis test, often colloquially called a breathalyzer.
Due to the somewhat invasive nature of the test, you may think it is within your rights to refuse. And unfortunately, this is the incorrect assumption.
Understanding implied consent
BACtrack discusses whether or not one should refuse a breath analysis test. In short: you should never refuse an officer when they ask you to take one of these tests. “Asking” is a generous term to use, because in reality, you already consented to the test the second you got on the road.
This is due to something called implied consent. This sort of consent functions in situations where any average individual could assume someone gave their consent for something, even without having said consent in spoken or written word. As an example, people who get the flu vaccine imply their consent by making and attending the appointment and allowing the doctor to administer the shot.
Likewise, you imply your consent to BAC tests when you use public roads in order to help preserve the safety of everyone else using them.
The penalty for refusal
If you refuse a BAC test like the breath analysis test, the officer has a legal obligation to alert you to the potential consequences you face with your refusal. This can include fines, fees, time in jail and a suspended license which you will deal with regardless of whether or not the DUI charges get dropped. Thus, there is no real winning when it comes to refusing a BAC test.