If you are pulled over in Washington State for DUI and the officer asks you to take a breath test, do you have to? What happens if you refuse? Well, Washington has implied consent laws in place which make it so that by driving in Washington, the state can assume you have already implicitly given consent to be issued a breath or blood test by an officer. However, that does not necessarily mean that the officer can force you to take the test.
What is Implied Consent?
In Washington, it is required that individuals who are arrested for DUI by an officer undergo a breath or blood test. Implied consent means that if an officer with probable cause lawfully arrests you because he/she believes that you are driving under the influence, then by virtue of driving you have already consented to taking a chemical test (either a blood test or a breath test) in order to ascertain your blood alcohol content (BAC).
What if You Are Not Conscious?
In some cases, drivers who are suspected to have been driving under the influence are unconscious by the time the police show up due to having been in a serious accident. Typically, this means the police will take a blood test while you are unconscious. They do not need to wait for you to regain consciousness in order to administer the test since implied consent mens that by driving, you already consented to the test.
What Happens if You Refuse the Test?
If you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a breath test, although you are required to take the test, an officer can’t force you to take it except under certain specific circumstances. If you do refuse, this just means your license will automatically be suspended for a year. In addition, your refusal to take the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted of DUI. The refusal can actually be used against you in court by prosecutors. Also, the state may still use other evidence that you were driving under the influence such as results from a field sobriety test or the officer’s observations of your driving.
If you are being charged with DUI in the state of Washington, contact Murphy’s Law Offices today for a free consultation by calling 253-312-6122.