No matter which state you live in and drive in, implied consent laws are a major part of state sentencing guidelines in drunk driving laws, and it’s important to know exactly how you can be impacted by this piece of legislation:
- Implied consent laws pertain to drunk driving offenses, and every single state has an implied consent law in place. This legislation states that every driver, upon receiving his/her driving license, automatically agrees to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer) if a law enforcement official suspects that person of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- It’s possible to choose which type of chemical test you want to take, even though breathalyzer tests are the most common (and most convenient) when drunk driving is suspected. Nevertheless, a driver can request that a urine or blood draw test be used instead (which must be given in a medical facility and by a trained medical professional, whereas a breathalyzer test can be administered on the roadside by a police officer).
- Because every driver automatically agrees to take a chemical test if he/she is suspected of driving under the influence, it’s technically against the law to refuse a test altogether. If a driver refuses to take a chemical test after being pulled over, he/she will be arrested anyway and the police officer will obtain a warrant to have a chemical test administered.
- The obvious problem with refusing to take a breathalyzer is that, in many cases, the driver’s body will have processed any drugs/alcohol by the time a chemical test warrant is obtained, meaning that he/she may not receive a DWI conviction even if he/she was driving while intoxicated. Because of this, there are harsh penalties in place for anyone who refuses to take a chemical test upon suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Many states will automatically revoke the person’s driving privilege, and if a DWI conviction can be given, the punishments will be even more serious.
Many drivers aren’t even aware that implied consent law exist at all, but it’s incredibly important that you know exactly what these laws mean in your state before you get behind the wheel!