Refusing to Submit to DUI Testing

 Individuals who are pulled over are often asked to participate in various types of DUI testing. Refusing to test can subject the criminal defendant to certain criminal penalties. However, there are certainly times when a criminal defense lawyer would recommend not submitting to such testing.

Types of DUI Tests

There are a number of different types of tests to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One common type of test is a breath test. This type of test is meant to determine the driver’s blood alcohol level by testing the individual’s death. Another common test is a blood test. Field sobriety tests can also help law enforcement develop a belief that a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This last type of test is often the type of test that is most refused. 

Field sobriety tests check for subjective clues of intoxication. A driver’s eye movements may be monitored for involuntary movements. A person may be asked to walk a line or hold one leg up in order to see if he or she can retain balance. Many people feel uncomfortable with these types of tests and may refuse them. 

Implied Consent Laws

Many states have implied consent laws which state that a person consents ahead of time to certain tests if he or she is pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving as a condition of being licensed in that state. If a person refuses to take the specific type of test described in the implied consent law, he or she is subject to certain penalties. 


Implied consent laws may provide for criminal sanction, administrative action or both. If a person refuses to submit to a test included in an implied consent law, he or she may be subject to jail time, fines or other penalties as established in the criminal statute. He or she may also be subject to an automatic suspension of his or her driver’s license. 

Reasons for Refusal 

There are many different reasons why a person may want to refuse to take a test. These include among others:

Uncertain of BAC

A person may want to refuse to take a DUI test because he or she knows that he or she has consumed alcohol or drugs. He or she may not want to provide the police with additional evidence to use against him or her. A person may not have even consumed that much alcohol, such as only having one or two drinks. However, everybody’s body works differently and metabolizes alcohol in a different manner. A person’s sex, age, weight, height and other physical factors can affect BAC. Therefore, some individuals do not want to consent to testing that may incriminate them if they are not certain they will pass. 

Medical Condition

Some individuals may choose to refuse a test due to a medical condition that may impact the results. If the person is taking certain medication, he or she may be hesitant to take a blood test if this may imply impairment based on the presence of the drug in his or her system. Alternatively, a person may wish to refuse field sobriety tests if medication may have an impact on his or her performance on these tests. 

Balance Problems

Another reason why individuals may choose to refuse a test is because they have difficulty balancing. Two of the three standard roadside tests measure balance. If a person has difficulty walking a straight line, keeping his or her finger on his or her nose or maintaining a standing leg position in the best of conditions, he or she may not perform well on the side of the road with limited lighting and with nerves because of the situation. Individuals may prefer not to hand law enforcement evidence that will only be used to convict them and may choose to refuse such tests on this basis. 

Detrimental Effects

Although there may be several valid reasons for refusing a test, there are potential drawbacks to making this decision. For example, refusal can often be brought up in court. A refusal may imply guilt. The judge or jury can consider this refusal alongside other evidence against the defendant. Additionally, an individual may automatically lose driving privileges upon refusal. However, a criminal defense lawyer can often raise arguments against this action based on a refusal. A criminal defense lawyer can explain when such tests should be refused and the consequences of refusal.