DUI Breath Tests

Why Was I Asked to Perform Multiple Breath Tests?

There are two different types of breath tests commonly administered in a DUI case. The first is called a portable breath test (PBT), which is voluntary and usually conducted on the roadway after being pulled over. The results of a PBT are not admissible in court. The second test is the official breath test, which is required and carried out at the police station. If someone refuses to take the official breath test, several consequences will follow. It is important to note that if an officer believes someone is attempting to trick the machine by not blowing hard enough or by some other means, then they can report a refusal by conduct. This means that even if someone submitted to the breath test, the way they conduct themselves while taking the test could result in a refusal on record.

Should I Ever Refuse to Take the Breathalyzer Test?

Whether or not someone should refuse to take the breathalyzer test will depend on their anticipated level of impairment, past DUI history, and what they do for employment. With that being said, Washington State has something called implied consent laws, which means that anyone who drives in the state is presumed to have already consented to a breath test upon a lawful arrest. Failure to provide such a sample after a lawful arrest is what is known as a refusal. If someone submits to the test and the result is over 0.08, then their license will be suspended for 90 days; if someone refuses, their license will be suspended for two years or more depending on their DUI history.

Besides, as of 2017, a refusal can be used against someone as evidence of guilt at trial. To make things more complicated, a refusal gives an officer reason to apply for a search warrant for a blood draw to determine the person’s BAC level. If a judge authorizes the warrant, the officer will have the right to obtain a sample of blood forcibly, and the individual will still suffer the consequences of having refused the test. If an officer plans on getting a warrant for a sample of someone’s blood, it would be advisable for the person to submit to the breath test. In most circumstances in Washington State, it makes sense to submit to the official breath test that is done at the station. However, it is recommended for someone to speak with an attorney before making a final decision.

Can I Rescind or Change My Mind on A Refusal?

An individual is allowed to refuse the PBT and consent to the official breath test at the station.

However, once you are at the police station and indicate to the Officer that you will not be submitting to a breath test, there is no going back if the officer has inputted in the machine that you refused.