Maybe cops pulled you over after you left a party and the officer has asked if you were drinking. Perhaps you've gotten stuck in a roadblock enforcement effort. Whatever the reason, suddenly a law enforcement officer is asking you to submit to both field sobriety tests and breath test to determine if you are violating Louisiana driving laws.
Failing a field sobriety test or breath test can have serious legal consequences, including criminal charges. If you'd had a few drinks but don't believe it is impacting your driving, you may be wondering if you can simply refuse to take a breath test.
One thing is certain in this case: Whether you refuse a breath test or get arrested, you're going to need the help of an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney. Being charged with a crime due to driving under the influence can result in serious, even lifelong consequences.
For that reason, some people think they can outsmart the system by refusing to allow a breath test or urine test when they're detained as part of a roadblock or due to suspicion of drunk or impaired driving. However, refusing to take the test can result in serious consequences for drivers as well.
You accept roadside testing when you accept your license
As part of the language in Louisiana state law that allows you to operate a motor vehicle, you agree to consent to roadside testing for impairment. If you refuse to take the breath test, you are in violation of state law and can lose your license for a full year the first time you do it.
In some cases, if you need a license for work, the state may reinstate your license with special insurance and the installation of an ignition interlock system to ensure you aren't getting behind the wheel after drinking. Repeat refusals could result in longer loss of driving privileges or even other consequences.
It is still possible to face DWI charges if you refuse a breath or urine test. In these cases, a conviction or guilty plea to the DWI charge could make it harder to get your license back if you really need it. If you intentionally, repeatedly violate the implied consent law for roadside testing in Louisiana, it could have serious repercussions for your life and freedom.
Whether you refused or not, you need legal support
If you refused a roadside breath test and need your license back, an attorney can help. If you didn't refuse and were tested with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater, you will also need the help of an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney.
Your best chance of a positive outcome when facing DWI charges or legal consequences for refusing a breath test are tied to working with legal counesl. The sooner you call, the more options you may have for your defense.