What happens if I refuse to take a breath test?

When a police officer stops a vehicle on suspicion that the driver is operating white intoxicated, the officer will likely ask the driver to supply a breath sample for a breathalyzer. Some Wisconsin motorists will not want to take the test, believing it to be a form of self-incrimination. Only an experienced attorney can advise you whether you should take the test based on your circumstances.

According to state law, Wisconsin grants its residents driving privileges under the doctrine of implied consent. By becoming a driver, state law considers you to have already granted your consent to taking a blood alcohol test if you are charged with operating while intoxicated. This means that the state is authorized to impose penalties if you refuse to take the test when it is required.

A refusal to take a breath test does not result in jail time, but there are consequences. Penalties for not taking a breath test can include any of the following:

  • Revoking of driving privileges
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Waiting period to receive an occupational license
  • Enhanced penalties for subsequent breath test refusals

Breathalyzer tests are not infallible and can be contested. A knowledgeable OWI attorney can advise you whether you should take a breath test or, if you have failed a breath test, how those results can be challenged.

This article is written only to inform readers on drunk driving topics and is not to be interpreted as legal advice for your situation.