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Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Washington State?

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | Apr 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

Many drivers may wonder whether they can refuse a Breathalyzer test if they are stopped by the authorities for a suspected DUI. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question and a lawyer will generally tell you that: "it depends."

Washington Implied Consent Law

Like most states, Washington has implied consent laws. This means that if you drive on state roads, you are deemed to have given consent to undergo a blood alcohol test as a condition for driving. In most cases, the officer will still ask whether you will take the test. If you refuse, you could face penalties such as a license suspension regardless of whether you were drunk. In other words, you will face penalties simply for refusing the test. In addition, you should know that prosecutors can introduce as evidence your refusal to take the test to help support their case in a drunk driving case.

Right of Refusal

As mentioned above, you may have the right to refuse a blood alcohol test, provided that you realize that you will be penalized for the refusal. However, you should know that the right of refusal is only a general rule and that there are some cases where authorities may order a blood alcohol test without first asking your permission. So your consent may not be necessary in cases such as a suspected DUI-related accident that seriously injures or kills someone.

Contact a King County DUI Attorney

If you have a question about Washington implied consent laws and your penalties for failing to take a Breathalyzer test, you should contact an experienced King County DUI attorney at Cowan Kirk Gaston Wolff. Schedule a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney by calling (425) 822-1220.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


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