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Should you submit to a breathalyzer test in Missouri?


Drunk driving is a serious epidemic every state has to contend with. According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 3,300 people died in drunk driving incidents between 2003 and 2012 in Missouri. 

People pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving can expect for a police officer to administer a field test. This usually consists of a breathalyzer to determine a person's blood alcohol content level. While most submit, many deny, assuming they are within their legal rights to do so. While a person can technically deny a breathalyzer test, one should seriously consider whether that is the best course of action. 

What happens when a suspect refuses a breathalyzer test?

There are consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test. The person will most likely receive a 15-day driving permit. After 15 days, a person could potentially lose his or her license for a full year. During those couple of weeks, a person should speak with an attorney to attempt to fight this. 

What does it mean for Missouri to be an implied consent state?

After the initial refusal, it is up to the officer whether the person is under arrest. Upon arrest, the person must submit to a BAC test because Missouri has implied consent laws. This means when a person is under arrest, it becomes implied he or she will consent to any future tests. At this point, refusing a test can lead to an automatic revocation of a driver's license for one year. 

What is the best course of action?

If a person has not had anything alcoholic to drink, then it is highly recommended to take an initial breathalyzer exam. Refusing carries its own set of consequences. Additionally, the police could bring up a refusal during court to use against the person in question. In any case, it is a good idea to get a criminal defense attorney involved.

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Richard T. Bryant & Associates, P.C.

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