You are the designated driver and you’re taking your friends home after a night out. Suddenly, you find yourself being pulled over by law enforcement.
There are questions regarding your sobriety and ability to drive safely, and the officer is telling you that (based on your driving pattern), they are reasonably suspicious that you could be drunk driving. Consequently, they are asking you to take the breathalyzer test.
Should you yield to their demand?
New Mexico is an implied consent state
Driving in New Mexico, like in all the other states, is technically a privilege. In other words, when you sign up for a driver’s license, you must adhere to the conditions and responsibilities that come with it. One such condition is consenting to a chemical test should law enforcement have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a DUI investigation. This is known as implied consent and refusing to yield to a legal breathalyzer test request has consequences.
The consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test
If you opt to refuse the breathalyzer test, you may face the following consequences:
You could lose your driver’s license on the spot – you may automatically lose your driver’s license if you refuse to blow. Whereas you may appeal this decision, it is important to understand that the revocation will likely hold since you violated your duty as a driver.
You may be charged with aggravated drunk driving – upon refusal, law enforcement will most likely arrest and charge you with aggravated DUI, which comes with much more serious penalties like mandatory jail time.
Your refusal could serve as evidence against you – just because law enforcement never obtained your blood or breath samples doesn’t mean that you will not be charged with DUI. In fact, your decision to refuse the breathalyzer test could be indicative that you had something to hide.
Refusing a breathalyzer test may expose you to severe consequences should you be convicted. Understanding your legal options can help you defend yourself and protect your rights if your reasons for the refusal are valid.