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What happens when you refuse a breath test?

Before we even address the question in the title, it is important for us to say that no one should get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they have consumed alcohol or used drugs. Having said that, if you do get behind the wheel of a vehicle while you are intoxicated and you see the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror, your thoughts will immediately scramble to try and find a way out of the situation.

One of the thoughts you may land on is refusing any breath test that a police officer gives you. "That has to work," you think to yourself. We assure you, though -- it does not.

You see, when you acquire your driver's license, you are actually agreeing to a set of principles regarding road safety and your interactions with the police. It's an agreement between you and the state, essentially. One of the elements of this agreement is implied consent. These laws state that if you are pulled over by the police, it is implied that you consent to taking a breath or chemical test. Refusing to take such a test results in serious penalties immediately.

Your license will be suspended and you will likely face jail time. On top of this, prosecutors and the police will use other pieces of evidence to compile a DUI case against you. They may even have ways to compel you to give a blood or urine sample. And if that wasn't enough, your refusal to take a test will not paint you in a positive light before a court.

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