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What Happens If You Decline a Breathalyzer or a Blood Test in Tennessee?

Posted by John C. Taylor | Sep 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you are pulled over and asked to take a breathalyzer or blood test to check for potential impairment, you can face serious consequences if you decline this test. It is important to understand Tennessee's implied consent law, the potential consequences for refusing to take a breathalyzer or a blood test and your rights in this situation.

Implied consent law

Tennessee has an implied consent law that requires motorists to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test as part of a valid stop to gauge a person's blood alcohol concentration. As a condition of having a driver's license in Tennessee, you agree to take a breathalyzer test, blood test and other chemical tests for this purpose. When a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, he or she may ask you to submit to this test pursuant to the implied consent law.

Penalties for violating the implied consent law

If you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test, you can be charged for this separate offense. A conviction of violating the implied consent law can result in the following potential penalties:

  • No prior criminal convictions – Revocation of your driver's license for one year.

  • One prior criminal conviction or one drunk driving charge – Revocation of your driver's license for two years.

  • A conviction of DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or a current revoked or suspended license – A Class A misdemeanor conviction, which can result in a fine up to $1,000, and probation up to 11 months and 29 days. Additionally, you face a license revocation between two and five years.

The actual punishments depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident and your prior criminal history. In some cases, jail time may result.

Additionally, you may still be charged with other drunk-driving offenses. You may face a separate charge for DUI. You can have inconsistent results, such as being convicted of failing to comply with the implied consent law while being found not guilty of DUI or vice versa.

Refusing the test

Although the law states that drivers impliedly consent to being tested, law enforcement will not force the test against the motorist's will. Motorists might refuse breath, urine or blood tests. They may have chosen not to take a test because the law enforcement officer did not have the legal grounds for the traffic stop or other reasons that a criminal defense lawyer may be able to use as a valid defense for the refusal.

Speak with a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer

The experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense team at Taylor Law Group is ready to help. We help our clients defend against all types of criminal charges, so please do not wait to contact us online or call 615-890-1982 for a consultation.

About the Author

John C. Taylor

John C. Taylor is a Murfreesboro native and a graduate of Oakland High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Furman University in Greenville, SC, where he participated in the Furman Advantage Research program, studying religion in American politics. John also earned his Master's degree.


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