What Happens If You Refuse a Drunk Driving Breath Test in Tennessee

What Happens If You Refuse a Drunk Driving Breath Test in TennesseeTennessee drivers sometimes think that refusing a breath test, blood test or urine test is a good option. In most cases, it is not. Tennessee has an implied consent law which holds that if a police officer has probable cause to believe you were driving while intoxicated, then you consent to a chemical analysis of your breath, blood or urine. The purpose of all three tests is to determine your blood alcohol content. Normally, drivers are given a breath test unless they are injured or incapable of taking a breath test.

A refusal to take the breath test

The police officer should explain what happens if you refuse to take the field sobriety test. If he/she does not, then any license suspension or interlock ignition device requirement can be contested. Otherwise, the consequences for refusing to take the chemical test that the police officer has requested are:

  • Loss of license. One year for a first DUI offense, two years for a second DUI offense, and two years for a third DUI offense.
  • Required use an interlock ignition device. If you are later convicted of DUI, you will be required to install an IID device on your car.
  • Possible criminal conviction. If you refuse the test and are subsequently convicted of DUI, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or aggravated vehicle assault – you can be imprisoned for up to just less than one year and your license can be revoked for one to five years.
  • The refusal to take the test can be introduced and held against you at trial. Normally, the prosecution must show that your BAC was .08 or more to convict you of drunk driving. If you take the test and it is over .08, it can sometimes be proven that a breath test was not properly administered or that the testing equipment was defective. A jury may infer that you were intoxicated because you refused the test.

At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, our criminal defense lawyers challenge the admissibility and reliability of evidence against you in DUI cases. If you refused a breath or other chemical tests, we aggressively work to show the police officer failed to warn you or didn’t have reason to stop you. For help with a DUI charge, please phone us at 615-977-9370 or use our contact form. We see clients from Brentwood, Columbia, and Franklin and surrounding areas.