When stopped by law enforcement, no one wants to potentially incriminate him or herself and risk a ticket or worse, an arrest. To avoid possibly giving the authorities evidence to use against them, many drivers consider refusing requests to submit to blood alcohol content testing.
If asked, it benefits people to know their rights and the possible consequences of their actions with regard to breath testing for determining BAC levels.
According to Tennessee state law, by driving a motor vehicle in the state, people agree to submit to BAC testing when asked by law enforcement. To make such a request, however, the authorities must have reasonable cause to believe the driver was under the influence. For example, such grounds include seeing an open container in the car, smelling alcohol on the driver’s breath during questioning or witnessing the driver swerving prior to the stop.
Penalties for refusal
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, for violating the implied consent law, drivers face penalties in addition to the ones imposed if they plead guilty or the court convicts them of driving under the influence. If they have no prior record of this violation, a first-time offense results in a one-year driver’s license revocation. With a previous conviction or if they caused a crash that resulted in serious injuries, people lose their driving privileges for two years. The duration of the driver’s license revocation due to refusing a breath test extends to five years if motorists caused fatal collisions.
The consequences of a drunk driving arrest often have significant short- and long-term effects on people’s lives. Therefore, those facing DUI charges may consider all their options for establishing a solid defense.