Breath tests—often called breathalyzer tests—are one important way that officers determine whether a driver has been operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If an officer asks you to take a breath test in the field, it can create damning evidence against you. Is it possible to refuse these tests?

You can refuse to take a breath test, but there will be consequences.

While police officers cannot force you to take a breath test, Oregon’s implied consent laws do punish you for outright refusing to take a breath test when asked or by acting in an uncooperative way. Your license will be suspended for a year due to this refusal, and you will need to wait 90 days before becoming eligible for a hardship permit. You will also suffer additional fines as a result.

However, the law requires arresting officers to inform drivers of the penalties for refusal. If they do not warn you about the consequences of refusing to take the test, then you cannot make an informed decision about your actions.

After a breath test refusal, you may have limited time to protect your rights.

Charges of refusing a breath test are separate from DUI charges. In addition to your appearance in court for drunk driving, refusing a breath test also requires you to appear at the DMV within ten days of the refusal in order to protect your license.

If you have refused a breath test, it can be important to speak to an attorney about protecting your rights. They can assist you ensuring that you meet important deadlines and in protecting your driving privileges and your rights.