The minute you get your driver’s license in Kentucky, you already consent to driving responsibly and taking any necessary tests if police suspect you of driving under the influence (DUI). When you refuse a breathalyzer test after a law enforcement officer pulls you over, you are violating Kentucky’s implied consent statute and may face a license suspension.
Kentucky’s implied consent law
Some individuals may want to decline a breathalyzer test to avoid a DUI conviction or because they believe it produces inaccurate results. However, according to Kentucky’s implied consent statute, anyone who operates a vehicle on its roads agrees to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to check for the presence of a substance. Refusing to take the test is a violation of that agreement and can result in penalties. Moreover, your refusal may cause law enforcement to be more suspicious.
Penalties for violating implied consent
Declining a breathalyzer test may result in a pre-trial suspension, where the court will seize and suspend your license upon arraignment. Suspension can last from six to 35 months, depending on how many times you have been previously convicted of a DUI.
Sometimes, the court may order offenders to enroll in the Kentucky Ignition Interlock Program (KIIP). The program requires participants to install an ignition interlock device or a car breathalyzer in all vehicles they drive. Drivers who stay free from violations may be able to get their licenses back sooner.
If you are convicted, a DUI may result in harsher penalties such as jail time, community service, or fines. However, even if you are found not guilty, the fact that you refused a breathalyzer test may still warrant a license suspension.
Steps to take if the police pull you over for DUI
First, stay calm and cooperate. Police officers must give you at least 20 minutes for personal observation before subjecting you to a breathalyzer test. You may use this time to call and consult an attorney. Even if you feel that you did not commit a crime, it is best to avoid arguing with a police officer. You may also invoke your right to remain silent to avoid incriminating yourself.
If you agree to take a breathalyzer test, you may get a second opinion to challenge the results of the first test and the charges you face. Whether you decide to take a breathalyzer test or not, it may be in your best interest to seek out the help of an attorney following a DUI arrest.