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What happens if you refuse a breath test?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | DUI |

In Mississippi, driving is a privilege, not a right, and by holding a driver’s license, you automatically agree to submit to a breath test under suspicion of DUI. This agreement is part of what’s known as the “implied consent” law that all drivers must follow.

If you refuse a breath test when police pull you over for a DUI, you will face significant consequences. 

Immediate consequences

If you refuse the breath test, the officer will inform you that they will suspend your driver’s license for at least 90 days. This suspension happens automatically without a court trial and is separate from any other penalties you might face if charged with a DUI.

Longer-term effects

Refusing a breath test does not prevent officers from charging you with a DUI. They can still arrest you based on other signs of impairment, such as erratic driving or failing other field sobriety tests.

If your case goes to court, the prosecution may use your refusal to take the breath test as evidence against you. This could suggest to the court that you refused the test, knowing you would fail it.

Administrative and legal proceedings

After you refuse the test, you must go through an administrative hearing about your license suspension. You may also face criminal DUI charges. Handling both can be complex and stressful.

Understanding these rules can help you make informed decisions if you ever find yourself stopped for DUI in Mississippi. Always remember that safety should be your top priority when on the road.