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A DUI breath test, do I have to take it when asked?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2019 | DUI/OUI |

Knowing what your rights are if you ever get pulled over because police suspect you of driving under the influence of alcohol is important. When confronted by law enforcement officials, it is easy to get flustered and say or do things that may not serve your best interests. Let’s look at the breath test just as an example. Do you have to take it? What happens if you do or don’t?

Like most people, you probably believe that complying with the police is the best thing you can do when pulled over. This is true, to a point. You do have rights, and you can say no to certain officer requests. The breath test is one of those things you can refuse if you want to — unless police obtain a warrant, then you must comply. Just understand that in Massachusetts, just as in other states, there are consequences for doing so.

If you take it…

If you agree to submit to the test, you chance getting a false high blood-alcohol content readout. The machines used for breath tests are often unreliable. So many things can affect test results. Some being:

  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper calibration
  • Administrator error
  • Machine failure
  • Software glitches

On top of all that, false high readouts are possible if you use certain products, ingest certain substances or take certain medications. Proving test results are inaccurate can be a challenge. This is why some experts recommend that people refuse to participate.

If you don’t take it…

Refusing a breath test can result in your arrest and the immediate suspension of your driver’s license — even if only temporarily. Thankfully, you do have the right to defend yourself, and with the right assistance, you can deal with the criminal and administrative consequences for refusing as quickly as possible.

Your life, your decision

When pulled over for suspected DUI, you have to do what you think is best for you. If you want to comply with an officer’s demands that you take a breath test, do it. If you want to refuse and there is no warrant in place for force testing, that is up to you. Either way, steps can be taken to seek a case dismissal or at least minimize any consequences that may accompany a conviction.

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