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What happens to my license if I refuse to take a breath test?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | DUI/DWI

When you get home after a hard day at work, your first thought may be to crack open a beer. Still, if you drink and then decide to get behind the wheel of a car, it is possible that you could be pulled over and accused of drunk driving.

If you are arrested for drunk driving, you could lose your driver’s license. But for how long? And is there any way to get it back? The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI.

License suspension and breath tests

When you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the police will likely ask you to perform a breath test to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC). Blow a 0.08% or higher and you can be arrested for drunk driving.

Technically, you can refuse to submit to a breath test, but if you do your license will be suspended for 12 months if it is your first offense. If it is your second offense within 10 years, your license will be revoked for two years if you refuse a breath test.

In comparison, if you do submit to a breath test and you blew a 0.08% or more, your license will be suspended for four months for a first offense. If it is your second offense within 10 years, your license will be suspended for 12 months.

There are advantages to refusing a breath test, as it gives police less evidence to use against you. But you will have to weigh that against the enhanced consequences for refusal.

Can I get a restricted license?

Even if your license was suspended for DUI, you could still be eligible for a restricted license in certain circumstances. A restricted license allows you to travel to work while your regular license is suspended. You have to apply for a restricted license; it will not be issued at your DMV hearing.

A restricted license can be the key to keeping your job following your DUI. You likely need your job and if you are fired finding a new job after a DUI can be difficult, especially if driving was an essential duty in your job. Still, it is good to have a basic understanding of your DUI rights, especially when it comes to chemical tests and restricted licenses.