Due to nationwide implied consent laws, drivers who are stopped for DWI face a difficult decision. They can either proceed with the breath, blood, or urine alcohol tests the officer wishes to conduct, or they can refuse the test to avoid providing incriminating evidence. Unfortunately, choosing the latter option can also lead to negative consequences. It is best to speak with an attorney to receive formal legal advice regarding this matter.
Consequences for Refusing a BAC Test in Louisiana
If you are lawfully arrested by a police officer who has probable cause to suspect that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or other substance that has impaired your faculties, the officer is required to conduct a chemical test to deduce your level of intoxication. This typically follows roadside DWI/ DUI tests, which you may refuse without fear of consequences. While it may seem that providing potential DWI/DUI evidence is an invasion of your fifth amendment rights, the fact is you consented to be tested when you applied for your driver’s license.
Refusal to submit triggers an automatic license suspension unless you petition the Office of Motor Vehicles for a hearing within 15 days of your arrest. The length of time for which you can lose your license depends on whether or not it is your first time refusing to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample.
Not long ago, Louisiana increased the administrative penalties for refusing to submit to DWI/DUI testing to reduce the state refusal rate. Louisiana has one of the highest BAC test refusal rates in the entire country; approximately 39% of drivers who are stopped for DWI/DUI refuse the test. As of 2009, you can face license suspension of one year for refusing a blood, breath, or urine test for the first time. Your second or subsequent refusal can lead to license suspension of two years. There may be additional criminal penalties for a third refusal or for being involved in an accident that caused death or serious injury to another. You could face fines of up to $1,000 and spend up to six months in jail for a third refusal or injury DUI accident.
What if I lose my Louisiana driver’s license?
Your attorney may advise against producing the sample that can lead to a DWI/DUI conviction. It may be easier to fight your license suspension than a DWI/DUI with evidence. If you have refused to submit to a DWI/DUI test in Louisiana, you may still be able to drive so long as you apply for a hardship license. You must have car insurance, which will be more difficult to acquire after a DWI/DUI arrest, and more costly; yet it may be possible to receive SR-22 insurance. This is only possible after a first DWI refusal and after a waiting period of three months.
When facing DWI/ DUI, it’s important to work with an experienced DWI defense attorney in Louisiana. With over 25 years of experience defending criminal gun charges in the state of Louisiana, Eric Johnson of the John D.& Eric G. John Law Firm has the knowledge and skills necessary to get started on your case right away. The sooner you work with Eric, the more he will be able to minimize the impact of a DWI on your record. Call 318-377-1555 for a free and confidential consultation.