DUI: Should you take the breath test?

So, there you are, you’ve been pulled over, you stood on the side of the road; possibly done some field sobriety tests, and now you are back at the station and staring down the breath test. What should you do? Below are the good and the bad to refusing to take the breath test so you can decide for yourself.

First, in Washington, you have the right to counsel before you blow (CrR 3.1), call Gravis Law 509-380-9102 before you take the test.

If you decide to refuse the test breath test the consequences can be quite impactful. For starters your license will be suspended for a period of one year (RCW 46.20.308).  You have the right to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing to dispute the revocation of your license. You must request a hearing within 20 days, and you will be required to pay a $375.00 fee for the Driver’s License hearing.  At the hearing, you have the right to have an attorney with you (not a public defender), you have the right to question witnesses, you may present evidence and you may testify on your own behalf (RCW 46.20.308). Gravis Law can help you with your Department of Licensing (DOL) hearing. Call us 509-380-9102.

Despite your refusal to take the breath test, officers are still allowed to apply for a search warrant to draw your blood and get a blood alcohol result that way. (RCW 46.20.308) Also, the fact that you refused to take the breath test can be mentioned in court should you decide to go to trial on your DUI (so the jury can use your refusal in determining your guilt (RCW 46.61.517)).  Further, if you get convicted at trial, your refusal will result in an additional one-year suspension to your license (2 years total!) Subsequent DUI’s may be treated differently so call Gravis Law to speak to us about the specifics of your case.

If you decide to take the breath test remember that your result will be used at trial against you.  So, if you have been drinking and (drinking a lot) then you may want to consider this.  The breath test machine that Washington currently uses does have some flaws and you may be able to challenge the accuracy and reliability of the machine at trial.

The decision “to blow or not to blow?” is yours alone, but should you have questions call us at Gravis Law, 509-380-9102 we’re here to help.

— Dawn Emery

“This information is not meant to be taken as legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Gravis Law”