Should I Take A Breathalyzer Test?

August 13, 2010

If you’re pulled over for “driving under the influence” (DUI), should you consent to taking a breathalyzer test?

You have to. The fact is that you’ve already given your consent.

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Under Kentucky law, when you operate or are in physical control of a vehicle, you’ve given “implied consent” to one or more tests of your blood, breath or urine to determine alcohol concentration or the presence of any substance which may impair your driving ability.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test, you’ll be penalized even if you’re not convicted of DUI. Your driver’s license will be suspended as follows (for offenses over a five year period):

  • First offense – 30 to 120 days
  • Second offense – 12 to 18 months
  • Third offense – 24 to 36 months
  • Fourth (and subsequent) offenses – 60 months

If your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeds .08, you’ve violated Kentucky’s DUI laws. The BAC limit is .02 if you’re under 21, and .04 if you’re operating a commercial vehicle. The penalties for your first offense include:

  • Fine – $200 to $500
  • Jail – 2 to 30 days
  • Alcohol or Substance Abuse Program – 90 days
  • License Suspension – 30 to 120 days
  • Community Labor – 2 to 30 days

These penalties increase with each additional DUI you commit over a five-year period. The penalty for each offense also become more severe when “aggravating circumstances” are present. One of those aggravating circumstances that can increase your penalty is refusing to take a brethalyzer test. They also include:

  • Having a BAC of .18 or more within 2 hours of operating vehicle
  • Driving 30 mph or more over speed limit
  • Driving wrong way on limited access highway
  • Causing an accident resulting in death or serious injury
  • Transporting passengers under 12 years of age

If you have any questions regarding Kentucky law or are faced with a DUI charge, you should consult a qualified lawyer immediately. Of course, the best course of action is to never drink and drive!

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