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What happens if you refuse a Breathalyzer test in Kentucky?

When you are pulled over for drunk driving, do you have to take a breath test? In some states, you are able to decline the test with little to no consequences, and the lack of evidence makes it difficult for law enforcement to prove their case.

In Kentucky, however, declining to take a sobriety test (breath, blood or urine) comes with its own set of penalties – some worse than what comes with a DUI conviction.

Implied consent in Kentucky

By obtaining your driver’s license and operating a vehicle on the road in Kentucky, you agree to take a sobriety test if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. This is called implied consent.

You do have some rights before submitting to a test. Law enforcement officers cannot ask you to take a breath test without first observing you for 20 minutes. And once they request that you take one, you have a short period where you could contact your attorney and ask for legal counsel before taking the test.

But what if you will fail the test?

If you know you will fail the test, it still may be in your best interest to take it. If this is your first offense and you refuse, your license will be suspended for 30 days, and your refusal could be used against you as evidence of DUI in court. Additionally, if you refuse and are later found guilty, your jail time will be doubled.

If you know you are really drunk, however, it may not hurt you to decline the test. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.15, which is nearly two times the legal limit, you could be facing aggravated penalties – which already will double your jail time. In this instance, it may be worthwhile to decline the test.

Every situation is unique, which is why law enforcement gives you the option of contacting an attorney prior to taking the test. But the general rule is, in Kentucky, you should take the sobriety test now to avoid even worse consequences later.

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