Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is a big deal. With potential penalties varying from the suspension of your driver’s license to fines and jail time upon conviction, there is no doubt that a DUI offense can impact your life in a number of ways.
If you are pulled over by law enforcement on drunk driving suspicion, you will be required to take a Breathalyzer test to ascertain your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. While you have the right to refuse the Breathalyzer test, it is important to understand that there are consequences.
Mississippi is an implied consent state
Driving in Mississippi, like in any other state, is a privilege, not a right. Thus, by operating a motor vehicle in Mississippi, you are giving law enforcement implied consent to administer a Breathalyzer test should they suspect that you are driving under influence.
Possible consequences of Breathalyzer refusal
In Mississippi, refusing to yield to a Breathalyzer test will result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
The license suspension applies as follows:
- 90-day suspension if you’ve never had a DUI conviction
- A one-year suspension if you have had a prior DUI conviction
It is important to understand this suspension is separate from any suspension applicable should you actually be convicted of a DUI. Plus, the prosecution can – and likely will – argue that your refusal to take the test is evidence of your “guilty knowledge,” meaning that you refused the test because knew you were probably legally impaired.
Refusing a Breathalyzer test won’t necessarily stop you from getting a DUI conviction. If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is important to get the best possible defense – whether you’ve taken a Breathalyzer test or not.