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The Breathalyzer test: take it or refuse it?

If you ever find yourself pulled over by a police officer in Louisiana for suspected impairment, you may feel that doing everything the officer asks you to will serve your best interests. Complying with police demands usually is a good way to go, but sometimes it is okay to say no. This is particularly true if asked to take a Breathalyzer test.

To take it or not to take it? That is the question. You could make a valid argument to do either. There may be consequences either way. You just have to do what you feel will better serve you in the long run.

What to do

You may choose to comply if you honestly believe you'll pass the test. The simple truth of the matter is this. You may comply and end up with a high blood-alcohol content readout even though you do not believe yourself to be intoxicated. It happens.

You may choose to comply because you are afraid of the consequences attached with refusing. Yes, refusing a Breathalyzer tests does have consequences. If you refuse, that is grounds for an automatic license suspension. It is not an admission of guilt, though, and does not mean that a DUI conviction is in your future.

Did you know that approximately 20 percent of individuals suspected of DUI refuse to submit to breath tests? This statistic comes from National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Most people submit to these tests because they feel they do not have a choice. Implied consent laws make them feel that cooperation is mandatory. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision.

Refused or failed, now what?

If you refused or failed a Breathalyzer test, it is not necessarily the end of the world. You may get arrested. You may have your license suspended. It does not mean you cannot fight the administrative and criminal consequences in court.

Following a DUI arrest associated with a Breathalyzer test failure or refusal, there are certain steps you need to take to protect yourself. The sooner you take those steps the better. With the help of legal counsel, you can do everything possible to fight the accusations made against you in the hopes of preserving your driving privileges and avoiding conviction -- or at least minimizing any consequences associated with a conviction.

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