Do Motorists in Louisiana have to Submit to the Breathalyzer Test or a Blood Test after a DWI Arrest?
Another frequently asked question that motorists ask about DWI or DUI law is, “Can I refuse to take the breathalyzer test after a DWI arrest?” The short answer yes. But there are serious consequences upon refusal. If an arrested motorist in Louisiana refuses to submit to the breathalyzer test or other chemical test or tests (alcohol analysis test) ordered by the arrested officer, his driving privileges will be suspended for a year for such refusal.
Louisiana has an implied consent statute which states that each motorist in Louisiana who was arrested for DWI after operating a motor vehicle upon the public highways of Louisiana has given consent to a breathalyzer or chemical test or tests of his blood, breath, urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood, and the presence of any abused substance or controlled dangerous substance in his blood at the time that the motorist was DWI. This means that the law requires the motorist who was arrested for DWI to submit to a breathalyzer or other alcohol analysis test that can determine if the motorist was driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If the motorist refuses to submit to one of these tests, he has violated the law and there are severe consequences.
The Louisiana Implied Consent law allows a motorist to refuse the breathalyzer test or other alcohol analysis test and requires that the motorist be advised by the arresting officer of the consequences of such refusal. If the officer does not advise the motorist of the consequences of a refusal to take an alcohol analysis test, then the motorist’s license could not be suspended.
What are the consequences of a refusal to submit to the breathalyzer test? When the motorist refuses the breathalyzer, the motorist’s driving privileges will be suspended and his driver’s license seized by the law enforcement officer. The officer will then issue a temporary license to the motorist. The motorist can drive with the temporary license until he has been informed by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections that his license has been officially suspended for an entire year. After the motorist’s license has been seized by the arresting officer, the motorist has a right to make a written request for an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge within thirty (30) days of his arrest. The administrative law judge will determine if the DWI arrest was proper and if the motorist’s license should be suspended. If the motorist does not make a written request for an administrative hearing within thirty days of the arrest, or if the administrative law judge determines that a suspension of the person’s license is proper, the motorist’s license will be officially suspended for one year from the date of suspension.
So, whether you should refuse the breathalyzer test after a DWI arrest is entirely up to you. But it is important to know that there are serious consequences upon refusal.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published December 22, 2018.