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How do implied consent laws affect BAC tests?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2022 | DUI

When you hit the road, you actually enter into an implied consent agreement with local law enforcement. This is what allows officers to test your BAC freely.

But what is an implied consent agreement? How and why do you enter it? And what does it mean for your ability to refuse BAC tests?

How does implied consent work?

The National Constitution Center discusses your potential right to refuse BAC tests. In reality, you do not have such a right due to implied consent laws. Implied consent exists in the context of a situation where a normal person could assume someone gave their consent for something, even if they do not have that consent in writing or spoken word.

As an example, you give implied consent for a vaccination if you make the appointment, show up for it, and allow the doctor to administer the shot.

In the context of driving, all public roads – which make up the vast majority of roads in the country – have an implied consent law governing them to keep all drivers safe from intoxicated driving. By using public roads, you consent to take BAC tests if an officer believes you are putting other drivers at risk via intoxicated driving.

Risks of refusal

This includes field sobriety tests and breath analysis tests. If a driver attempts to refuse anyway, an officer has a legal obligation to alert them to the consequences they face. This includes extra jail time and fines in the event that they get charged with DUI crimes. Even if they do not, they will face a year of license suspension, which is a big blow to any driver.