Eye 3 Yellow 3d 2 new logo Philly_KYW_new Philly_94WIP_new CBS Sports Radio 610 Philly_WPHT_new

Refusing A Breathalyzer

(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
Read More

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Many people who are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated mistakenly believe that if they don’t take a breathalizer test they can’t be convicted.

After Brooklyn police pulled over a man for aggressive driving, they had reason to believe that he was, in fact, drunk. But when they tried to administer a sobriety test, he refused. Despite the fact that just because you refuse to take a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or blood test you can still be charged with – and convicted of – drunk driving. Which is surprising to many people but should not have been to this suspect because he is a Judge.

I know, no shortage of idiots.

But don’t you make the same mistake: while state laws differ, virtually every state has an implied consent law, which states that any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road is deemed to have given his consent to the taking of his breath for the purposes of determining the content of alcohol in his blood. If you refuse, not only do you face automatic suspension of license under the implied consent law, the police officer can testify to your slurred speech and erratic driving to show you were drunk even without the test.

In this holiday cocktail party season, the best way to avoid a penalty is of course, not to call a lawyer or face a judge (or be a judge facing a judge) but calling a cab.