Does a suspected drunk driver have to give a breath sample?

Law enforcement authorities in Louisiana work hard to keep impaired drivers off the road. Those who they suspect of DUI are typically stopped and asked to participate in sobriety testing -- such as the breath test. Does a suspected drunk driver have to give a breath sample or does he or she have the right to refuse?

This is a great question as there is a lot of confusion about what one's rights are when in the midst of a DUI-related traffic stop. Some would say no, refusal is not possible, while others would disagree. The truth of the matter is that the answer is both no and yes.

Implied consent laws that are tied to driver's licenses mean that one agrees to comply with officers during traffic stops. This is why some people would say that refusal is not an option. Even though implied consent laws are in place, the law states that officers cannot force compliance, so one may refuse. However, there are just typically consequences for doing so, which may include suspension of one's driver's license, fines and even jail time.

Should one suspected of being a drunk driver in Louisiana refuse a breath test? At the end of the day, that is a choice left up to the individual. Refusal may or may not help one's case, and most of the time, it will lead to one having his or her driving privileges suspended. Whichever way one opts to go, if DUI charges are ultimately filed, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help the accused as he or she works to fight the charges in an effort to achieve the best outcome possible. For some, that may be getting their cases dismissed, and for others, that may involve seeking lighter or alternative sentencing.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?", Accessed on Feb. 28, 2018

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