When law enforcement suspects people of driving under the influence of alcohol, they commonly ask them to submit to testing to assess their intoxication. Submitting to alcohol breath tests, however, may provide the authorities with evidence motorists have been drinking. Therefore, some consider refusing to submit to such testing.
Before refusing a breath test in Louisiana, motorists should understand their rights and responsibilities under the state’s laws.
According to Louisiana state law, operating a motor vehicle in the state gives implied consent that, should law enforcement ask, drivers will submit to blood alcohol concentration testing. As such, refusing to provide a sample will result in additional charges, as well as the potential for further consequences.
Penalties for refusal
According to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety, breath test refusals carry significant penalties upon the first offense. Motorists who do not submit to such tests will have their driver’s licenses suspended for 1 year for a first-time offense. They will lose their driving privileges for up to two years for second or subsequent offenses. To regain their driver’s licenses at the end of their suspension periods, those who refuse breath tests will have to file proof of future financial responsibility. They must maintain this high-risk coverage for three years from the date of their convictions.
It may seem a way to circumvent the potential repercussions of getting stopped for suspected drunk driving. However, refusing breath tests may only add to the problems motorists face after such stops. Considering their options sometimes helps those in such circumstances to understand how best to proceed in order to protect their rights and their futures.