Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer In Washington State?
Washington is an implied consent state, which means that as a part of your driving privileges, you are deemed to have pre-consented to chemical testing of your blood or breath if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This testing should be completed within two hours of driving, but a test given later may still be used against you.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test? | Washington DUI Lawyers
There are at least three scenarios in which you may be asked to take a chemical test in Washington:
- If you are driving and are pulled over by an officer on suspicion of DUI
- If an officer suspects that you are intoxicated inside your vehicle even if the vehicle is not moving (for example, if you pulled over to “sleep it off”)
- If an officer suspects that you are intoxicated inside of an inoperable vehicle (for example, a vehicle that has run out of gas)
Once you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, the officer is required to read you a legal warning that basically explains that you have the right to refuse the test, but if you do, it will result in revocation of driving privileges and your refusal may be used against you in court. For a first offense, an individual may have their license automatically revoked for one year. A second offense, if within seven years, comes with a two-year revocation. They are also required to inform you that if you choose to take the test and it returns results that are at or above the legal BAC limit of .08%, your license will be suspended for 90 days.
An officer cannot force you to take a breath test if you refuse, but most officers will then seek a warrant from a judge to take your blood. If the judge authorizes the warrant, they will forcibly take your blood, and still use the refusal to blow against you at trial.
The officer will provide you with notice of the state’s intent to revoke your driving privileges as well as information on how to request a DUI hearing with the DOL in order to contest the revocation. You will have to pay a $375 fee along with your request. You will have temporary driving privileges until the date of your hearing. Keep in mind that you only have 20 days after your arrest to request a DOL hearing! If you do not request a hearing, or if you lose the hearing, you will face the full revocation of one year or two years depending on whether it was a first or subsequent offense within seven years.
If you have been arrested and accused of DUI in Washington, it is urgent that you immediately contact an experienced attorney who can protect your license and your rights. DUI convictions carry steep penalties, including jail time, fines, ignition interlock restrictions, probation, and more, so don’t risk the outcome of your case by waiting too long to get the help you need. At Callahan Law, P.S., Inc., we can guide you through both the DOL and criminal aspects of your case, ensuring that you know what to expect at every stage.
Contact a Washington DUI lawyer at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc. today to get started on your DUI defense.