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The price of refusing a breathalyzer in Missouri

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2023 | Dui |

In all 50 states, if you drive, implied consent laws apply to you. The idea is that driving is a privilege, not a right, and every driver must guard against property damage, personal injury and loss of life.

So, if you’re pulled over for suspected intoxication, you must submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, that is, a breath, blood or urine test, if police officers demand it.

Limitations on implied consent

Despite concerns about the violation of Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, courts have upheld the constitutionality of implied consent laws, but within limits:

  • Police must have reasonable grounds to make a DUI arrest and demand BAC testing.
  • BAC testing is usually triggered only by a DUI arrest.
  • Police must state that BAC testing is mandatory, and that refusal has consequences.

Twenty percent of drivers in the United States charged with DUI refuse a breath test or other BAC test in the hopes of beating the rap, but there’s a price attached.

Chemical Revocation

In Missouri, you can refuse these tests, but your driver’s license will be revoked for a year. This administrative penalty is called, “Chemical Revocation,” and with it, the following constraints apply:

  • For two years from the effective date of Chemical Revocation, you must file an SR-22 form which shows that your vehicle has liability insurance.
  • To reinstate your license, you must complete a Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program.
  • If there’s more than one intoxication-related law enforcement contact on your record, you’re required to have an Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle you operate for a minimum of six months after reinstatement of your license.
  • The Chemical Revocation never comes off of your driving record.

You can appeal the revocation at the Circuit Court or Associate Circuit Court in the county where the stop occurred within 30 days of the stop. For more information or help dealing with DUI-related troubles, it’s helpful to speak with counsel experienced in this area of the law.