How severe are the penalties for refusing a drug or alcohol test?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Firm News |

When Missouri police pull over a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence, the drier is required to submit to a roadside test for drug or alcohol intoxication.

This is based on the state’s “implied consent,” law, which holds that drivers consent in advance to taking these tests as a condition of getting a driver’s license.

Many might make the mistake of thinking they can refuse the test because it might incriminate them. However, refusal carries with it specific penalties that can cause them problems personally and professionally. Knowing about a refusal and what can be done to mitigate the damage is important.

Refusal carries with it certain penalties

When a driver chooses not to submit to an alcohol or drug test when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer, they will automatically have their driver’s license suspended for one year. Either the officer or the Department of Revenue will serve notice that this action is being taken.

After the refusal, the officer confiscates the person’s driver’s license and gives them a 15-day permit. Drivers do have the option of asking for a review. The court can issue a stay and the driver will be able to continue driving until the case is resolved. Once the arrest has been upheld, the driver will need to finish the revocation term before they can get their driving privileges back. The court might also overturn the arrest.

The driver must take certain steps before their driver’s license will be reinstated. There is a $45 fee. They need to have proof of insurance for two years from when the license was revoked. A Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program might need to be completed. And those who had more than one alcohol or drug related driving incident could need to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

A strong criminal defense can be effective

Often, people who are subject to a DUI traffic stop have never had any negative interaction with law enforcement and are fearful about the consequences they might be subject to if they are arrested and convicted. White collar professionals and people who think they have a lot to lose if the incident is discovered could make the misstep of refusing the test.

This type of charge can happen to anyone. If a person relies on their driver’s license to work and to help their family, a suspension can be a major challenge. Some make the decision to refuse because they are completely unaware of what can happen if they do.

Still, just because a person was charged with refusal does not mean there are no avenues to try and reach a favorable outcome. Prior to simply accepting the suspension and other penalties that might be meted out, it is wise to explore all options and decide how to move forward. There could be criminal defense strategies that could yield a favorable outcome.