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Rights in regards to DUIs, implied consent and breath tests

Dale Gribow Sept. 11, 2015

Football season is right around the corner, and few things are considered more American than football, burgers and beer. But whether you’re at your friend’s house to watch the game, at a bar, tailgating before the game, or raising your glass following your team’s victory, it is important to know the law when it comes to DUIs and implied consent laws with regards to breath tests.

Driving is considered a privilege not a right, and when you receive your driver’s license, you also are consenting to a blood alcohol content test, often called a BAC, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This test can come in many forms, including a field sobriety test, a blood test, urine test or a breath test, commonly known as a Breathalyzer.

If you are pulled over and suspected of DUI, refusal to take the BAC test essentially surrenders your driving privileges. This is referred to as the implied consent law. Every state in the U.S. has some form of this law, though how it is implemented varies by state.

In addition, every state in the U.S. has severe penalties for a DUI conviction. In California, the penalties and fines range from a four-month suspension of your license, fines, mandatory alcohol education and treatment and the possibility of the installation of an ignition interlock device. The penalties become even more severe for subsequent offenses, including a license revocation for two to three years, and even more for subsequent offenses.