What is Implied Consent?
In all states, driving is a privilege and not a right. When you apply for and accept the privilege to drive in any state, you also give an implied consent to test for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or drug content if you are arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. The reason for this law is a state’s legitimate interest in keeping dangerously intoxicated drivers off the road, to prevent injury, property damages, and loss of life.
Implied consent means that you have not expressly agreed to be tested, but the consent is inferred from your license application and the fact that you are driving on public roads.
When a law enforcement officer stops you and has reason to believe you have driven while under the influence, the officer will ask that you submit to a test to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs present in your blood. Generally, the police must have reasonable grounds for stopping you and must make a lawful arrest before administering a sobriety test.
What Happens if You Refuse?
This is probably the part you must know for your driver’s license or permit test exam. If you refuse to take the test, you risk losing your driver’s license, permit, or privilege to drive!
It will be suspended, revoked or denied depending on state laws. A suspension period is typically six months or one year.
Such a suspension is known as an admin per se penalty and conducted by the Division of Motor Vehicles or similar office. It is addition to any penalties later imposed by a court. In other words, your admin per se suspension has nothing to do if you later are found guilty of DUI. It is only related to your test refusal.
You should also know that your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you in a court of law. It will typically end up on your driving record, and it may affect things like future employments and your auto insurance premiums.
You can get limited driving permits for other suspensions in some states, but not for an Implied Consent suspension. Can you afford not to drive for six months or a year?
Unlike Europe, sobriety checkpoints have not been common in the United States. Some states prohibit them by state law or Constitution (or interpretation of state law or Constitution). In other state laws allow them. The frequency of checkpoints in those states has also increased over the years. You may see checkpoints weekly in some states, and very often intensified during holidays.
Does your state have them or not? Checkout this list by GHSA.org
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