Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Tennessee

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Tennessee

As you are driving back home after a get together with friends, you are pulled over for a DUI check. You know you had a few drinks and are worried about blowing above the legal BAC limit of 0.08%. So, should you refuse the breathalyzer test? Unfortunately, you do not have this legal option. The best thing to do is face the results of the test and contact an experienced Nashville DUI lawyer if you are charged..

Here is what you need to know about the implied consent law in our state and what happens if you refuse a breath test.

The Implied Consent Law Does Not Give Drivers the Right to Refuse a Breath Test

When you accept your driving license in Tennessee, you also accept to submit to a breathalyzer test whenever a law enforcement officer has probable cause to demand it. This is the essence of the implied consent law.

You are breaking the law by refusing the breath test. Moreover, this will not get you off the hook for any potential DUI conviction. The fact that the state does not have the value of your blood alcohol concentration does not put an end to the legal case.

On the contrary, the prosecutor will use your refusal of the breathalyzer test as evidence against you. And your attorney may not be able to negotiate a plea deal or get your charges reduced to a lesser offense.

Penalties for Refusing the Breathalyzer Test

The first time you refuse a breath test, your driving license will be suspended for one year. The penalties increase with the number of offenses and combined with other aggravating factors, thus:

  • 2 years for the second refusal to take a breath test
  • 2 years if you caused an accident resulting in bodily injury
  • 5 years if you caused an accident resulting in death

Please note that these are administrative penalties strictly related to the refusal of the breathalyzer test. If you are found guilty of DUI or other criminal offenses, you are facing additional penalties in the form of:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Installing an ignition interlock device
  • Participating in drug and alcohol treatment programs

find out what happens if you refuse a breath test

How to Recover a Suspended License after Refusing a Breath Test

As soon as you refuse the breathalyzer test, the law enforcement officer will notify the DMV and your driving license will be suspended. This means that, even if you are immediately released on bail or on your own recognizance, you cannot drive yourself back home.

You would be committing the offense of driving on a suspended license – which carries additional penalties. You must consult with an experienced Nashville DUI lawyer to help you obtain a restricted driving license.

This type of license will allow you to drive to and from:

  • Work or school
  • Court to attend hearings in your DUI case
  • Hospital
  • Church

What If I Believe the Breath Test Result Is Incorrect?

Breathalyzer devices are not 100% accurate. They may be poorly calibrated or malfunction at the moment when you are taking the test. This is one of the most important defenses an attorney will use in your case.

At the same time, you should know that the Tennessee law allows you to ask for an independent blood test. Blood tests are more accurate than breath tests, because they are performed by healthcare professionals following a strict protocol.

In many cases, people who tested positive on a breathalyzer test were exonerated from DUI charges by the results of the independent blood test.

Consult with a Nashville DUI Lawyer If You Failed a Breath Test!

Refusing a breathalyzer test will not put an end to a potential DUI case – it will only make it harder for a Nashville DUI lawyer to defend you.

Thus, if you are pulled over, take the test and then get in touch with Byron Pugh Legal if your BAC level is above the limit. We will examine the evidence against you and find the best defense tactic.

As a new client, you benefit from a free case review so call us today at 615-257-9705!