If you’re pulled over for DWI, you can refuse to take a breath test when the officer requests one. Refusing to take a breath test will mean automatic license suspension of at least 180 days for a first offense (minimum 2 years for second and third offenses), but at the same time, officers will not have that data point to use in their case against you. You can still refuse to take a breath test, but by doing so, you open yourself up to the possibility of a mandatory blood test.
How does that work?
Police can take your refusal to submit to a breath test as probable cause, and contact a judge for an expedited warrant. Once the officer has that warrant, you would have to submit to a blood test whether you wanted to or not. As officers would want to get the numbers from your blood test as soon as possible after your arrest, this could even mean that a nurse comes to the place of your arrest and performs the blood draw at the scene.
The practice is controversial
Some have challenged the constitutionality of mandatory blood draws, claiming that the practice violates protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Whether a person has to be subjected to a blood draw depends on whether a judge issues a warrant based on probable cause.
Talk to a lawyer
Whether you’ve been charged with DWI for the first time, or you’ve been through this before, you have rights that deserve defending. A DWI conviction can have a major impact on your life, so it’s best to consult with a tough and knowledgeable DWI attorney who can protect your rights.