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Is It a Crime to Refuse a BAC Test?

The state of Washington has some of the toughest laws regarding driving under the influence. There are several reasons why a police officer may pull you over, as they are trained to identify hundreds of signals that you are driving while impaired. There are three different tests you may take if you are pulled over and arrested for drunk driving:

Implied Consent

  • Field test: Conducted roadside, the field test is a series of mini-tests of physical coordination. The horizontal gaze test, the one-legged standing test, and the walk and turn test are all a part of the field test. Unlike chemical testing, you can refuse to take these tests without incurring legal penalties, although the arresting officer can testify in court that you refused. Do so politely if you choose, as you are probably being recorded by a camera mounted on the cop car or a body camera.
  • Blood or urine test: A blood and/ or urine test is usually required after you are taken into custody These tests are conducted at the police station or a nearby hospital and there are strict guidelines as to who can administer them and how. Chemical blood tests may be performed in extreme circumstances while you are unconscious, or if you are suspected of being under the influence of illegal substances.
  • Breathalyzer: A breathalyzer test is usually attempted at the time you are stopped; however, the roadside breath test can be highly inaccurate. The ideal test for DUI is the breath test that is performed at the police station after you have been arrested. It is less intrusive than a blood test and usually is more accurate than the other options.

Like all states, Washington has its share of implied consent laws. Implied consent is exactly what it sounds like. While you may not directly consent to undergoing chemical testing like the breathalyzer test or a blood test, the fact that you got your driver’s license and are driving on public roads makes your consent implied by those actions, as you signed forms agreeing to comply when you completed your driver’s license application. So, if an officer in Washington pulls you over with reasonable cause, you must take the tests within two hours of your arrest.

Refusing to take the tests, although you have a right to, means you lose your license for one full year if it’s your first offense. Your refusal is also used as evidence to be used against you in court. Don’t get caught in a jam without a lawyer on your side. Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to have a DUI case diminished or thrown out, even if chemical tests show you were over the legal limit. A DUI conviction takes a severe toll on your future, as it is something that will always show on a background check and can even lead to eviction from a rental property. This is not the time to represent yourself in court, this is the time to call the legal professionals at Murphy’s Law Offices. Call 253-312-6122 right away!

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Two Convenient Office Locations

King County Office
33515 10th Place South, #17
Federal Way, WA 98063

Pierce County Office
506 S. 11th St.
Tacoma, WA 98402

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Practice Areas

  • DUI Cases
  • Criminal Defense
  • Auto Accidents
  • Personal Injury
  • Drug Forfeiture
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Murphy’s Law Offices
506 S. 11th St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 312-6122

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