Once a police officer makes an arrest for drunk driving, the detained driver is notified of a state law that requires his or her post-arrest compliance with taking a state “forensic” test of breath, blood or urine. Implied consent laws all carry consequences for NOT complying with implied consent testing.
The minimum sanction is taking away the right to drive for some amount of time. Over half the states add a requirement for only being allowed to drive with an ignition interlock device, that prevents the vehicle from starting, if alcohol is detected.
The implied consent law of each state controls all aspects of post-arrest rules and procedures, for police compliance with statutory and constitutional laws.
Some states now have added either a financial assessment and/or jail time, for a DUI refusal. Most states (e.g., Georgia and Alabama) notify the arrested driver verbally of the mandatory testing, but some also provide both verbal and written “warnings” to the arrested DWI-DUI driver (e.g., North Carolina and Kansas).
An implied consent law means that a detained drunk driver is being notified of the legal necessity of submitting to forensic testing, or losing the right to drive, by virtue of administrative driver license suspension (or revocation) action. Because the arresting officer provides a verbal “warning” about the driver’s license consequences of a DUI refusal, many new clients ask our DUI defense lawyers, “What is the implied consent law?”
Our DUI law firm advise them that all states have passed such license suspension laws that are triggered by an officer at a DUI arrest telling the driver that an administrative revocation will take away his or her driving privileges, if the person does not “consent” to the requested testing (breath usually).
Implied consent laws began to be enacted in the early 1950’s, for the purpose of immediately taking away a dangerous driver’s driving license. DUI-DWI drivers were deemed to be such a risk to the public that states could administratively take away or restrict an arrest person’s driving privileges, even before a criminal case was concluded.
In many states (e.g., California, North Carolina, West Virginia), even if the criminal case gets totally dismissed, these administrative driver license sanctions remain in place.
In almost all states, two ways exist to “sanction” the arrested driver:
All states have zero tolerance for alcohol being consumed for drivers under age 21. However, the numeric BAC level varies (from state to state) from 0.00, 0.01 or 0.02, due to the lack of specificity and inability of breath alcohol testing to reveal the true alcohol level.
Plus, all drivers of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) are held to a 0.04 grams percent BAC, in every state.
Simply stated, when implied consent was conceived 65 years ago, a “legal fiction” was utilized: By driving on our state’s highways, you are deemed to have “consented” to submit to tests of your bodily fluids or breathe, in the event you are arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving.
Each state has (over the past six decades) modified and made more punitive the driver’s license impact, and (in over a dozen states) by adding jail time and or financial penalties, for non-compliance.
Over the many years since initial enactment, most states have added this type of “notice” to driver’s license application forms, so that the “implied” notice is now an “actual” notice. The laws needed to be enacted because a post-arrest detainee is being told that he or she must give MORE incriminatory evidence, with which the state can improve its chances of convicting the arrested driver.
A 2016 decision of the United States Supreme Court has now held that, for Fourth Amendment purposes, a breath alcohol test is not so invasive as to provide federal constitutional protection. Birchfield v. North Dakota, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016).
Hire a DUI Attorney With High Lawyer Ratings
Violation of implied consent puts your right to drive at risk. Why hire a DUI defense attorney with marginal experience and knowledge of how to beat a DUI? Call our office to speak to a DUI specialist, with top credentials. We can even assist you to find a DUI lawyer in another State. Call us now: 404-567-5515, or toll free: 1-888-384-4323.
Call 41-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515