Alcotest Under Suspicion Of DUI: Can You Say No?

Police officer holding alcotest machine for breath test
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An alcotest is a common way for the police to check your blood alcohol level. Drunk driving is a serious offense, and the consequences of this negligence can be disastrous. Injury, financial loss, and even death may result from an accident caused by DUI. Furthermore, if you’re arrested for drunk driving, things can become unnecessarily complicated for you.

You do have rights if you get pulled over for DUI in Portland, and this includes refusing to go through the field sobriety tests, disallowing a car search, choosing not to give a statement, and so on. But can you refuse to be checked for blood alcohol concentration via the alcotest?

We’ll explore this and more, but before we do that you must understand how serious it is to be pulled over for DUI. Your behavior at this point will make all the difference. You should cooperate as much as possible and when you get a chance, contact a competent DUI defense lawyer for your case.

How Does an Alcotest Work?

The alcotest, also known as the Breathalyzer test, is the standard quantitative measure of blood alcohol concentration, performed on the spot if the police stops someone with reasonable suspicion of DUI. The police officer may suspect drunk driving if the driver is steering erratically, driving on the wrong side of the road, driving at night without the headlights turned on, failing to stop in time for traffic signals, constantly braking even though there is nothing on the road, and so on.

Only if the driver exhibits such behavior will a police officer have a reasonable suspicion of DUI and stop them. Then they’ll ask the driver to step out of the car and breathe into the Breathalyzer machine. The machine will pick up alcohol vapors, if there are any, from the breath and calculate the concentration of alcohol in the blood based on the amount of alcoholic vapor in the exhaled air.

If this concentration turns out to be more than .08% which is the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, exceeding which is considered being drunk, then the results will be positive. Otherwise, you’ll be free to go. In either case, you should not resist the police and instead cooperate as much as you can within reason.

Now, what about your legal rights here; can you refuse to be tested for blood alcohol concentration?

Can You Refuse an Alcotest?

Short answer: no, you should never say no to being tested for blood alcohol concentration because this way, you’ll only make things difficult for you. Some states have an implied consent rule in this regard which means that the driver is legally bound to be tested if the police officer asks for it and refusing it is not an option.

What can a refusal lead to? On top of a DUI arrest, a number of other things such as suspension of your driver’s license, fine, and trouble with the legal proceedings afterward. Most people think that they’ll escape being incriminated if they refuse to take the test in the first place, but the result is the exact opposite of that.

So don’t refuse to be tested, you should be as cooperative as possible.

The penalties for refusal will depend on how many times has the said person been charged in the past. If they have a poor track record, they’re in for some serious trouble, plus the fine will be almost doubled if the drunk driver was apprehended in a school area.

The fine can be anywhere between $300 and $1,000 (at minimum) depending on whether it is a first offense, second, or third. On top of this, the accused will have to deal with insurance surcharges, license suspension, and an ignition interlocking device installed into their car.

Bottom Line: What Should You Do If You’re Stopped For DUI?

Your behavior matters more than anything else.

When stopped for a DUI, you should always cooperate with the police officer, agree to be tested for blood alcohol concentration, and try to be on your best behavior. You do reserve the right to stay silent, refuse to have your car searched, decline to perform any of the field sobriety tests, and so on.

You will not offend the officer by exercising these rights, in fact, the police officer will read you your rights beforehand.

Once you’re through with this initial phase, you’ll be allowed to contact a DUI defense lawyer to represent you in your case. You should not delay calling the Trilogy Law Group so that we can get started with sorting this mess out and get you out trouble-free.

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