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Refusing a Breathalyzer test: Do you have the right?

If you’re stopped by the police and they ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, it’s important for you to consider what will happen if you don’t. There are few times when it’s a good idea to refuse the test, because you agreed to provide a sample upon request when you accepted your license.

Implied consent laws give officers the right to ask you to complete field sobriety tests and to take a Breathalyzer test if you’re stopped because they believe that you’re impaired. A portable Breathalyzer will most likely be used for the test.

This is not a painful test, and it’s easy to take. You blow into the device for several seconds, and it reads your blood’s alcohol concentration by testing your breath. This is not always accurate, but for the purpose of a traffic stop, a Breathalyzer test can be used to show impairment.

Can you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when you’re asked?

Yes, you can refuse to take the test, but you should know that your license will be revoked immediately. In New Hampshire, you will lose your license for 180 days if you refuse the test.

For most people, the smarter thing to do is to take the test. If the test comes back low and you do well on the field sobriety tests, then it’s likely that the officer will allow you to continue on your way. However, if you fail the tests, then the officer may decide to take you to the station after placing you under arrest.

Why do you have to take a Breathalyzer test if they can be inaccurate?

A properly calibrated Breathalyzer test is very accurate, but no test is perfect. That’s why officers need to test your breath more than once. If they do not, or if those test come back with significant differences, then the tests may have been performed incorrectly. There is also a possibility that the Breathalyzer was not calibrated correctly or that other issues led to unusual readings.

If you’re asked to take a Breathalyzer test, it’s normally a good idea to do so. However, if you don’t, you may still be able to defend yourself and protect your license.