Should You Take the Breathalyzer?

If you find yourself arrested for OUI/DWI, the police officer is going to ask you to take the so-called "breathalyzer" test. As a Salem criminal defense attorney, people frequently ask me whether or not they should take this test and what are the consequences of either taking or refusing the test. The decision to take or refuse the test must be made on an individual case-by-case basis, but there are certain things to keep in mind.

First, you should know that, if you refuse the breathalyzer test, this evidence cannot be used against you in court. The prosecutor and the police officer will not be allowed to say anything at all about the breathalyzer. On the other hand, if you take the test and fail, this will definitely be used against you at your trial. You also need to know, however, that, if you refuse the test, your license will be suspended for a lengthy period of time.

If you are over 21 and have no prior drunk driving offenses on your record, your license will be suspended for 180 days if you refuse the breathalyzer. If you have one prior offense and refuse, your license will be suspended for 3 years. If you have two prior offenses and refuse, your license will be suspended for 5 years. Finally, if you have three or more prior offenses and refuse, your license will be suspended for life.

If you are under 21 and refuse the breathalyzer, your license will be suspended for at least 3.5 years (4 years if you are under 18), even if you have no prior offenses. If you have more than one prior offense, the suspension periods are even longer.

Whether or not you take the breathalyzer, it is absolutely vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested. Having an aggressive lawyer fighting for your rights from the very beginning of your case can make all of the difference in the world. That is why it is so important that you contact Salem criminal defense lawyer Kevin Prendergast today for help with your charges.

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