What happens when you refuse a breath test?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense, DUI |

It is an all-too-common scenario. You are driving home after hanging out with your friends when suddenly, blue and red lights flash behind you. The police officer suspects you have been drinking and asks you to take a breath test.

What is a breath test?

A breath test, or breathalyzer, is a device used to measure the concentration in a person’s breath.

Implied consent law

When the police ask to test you, you can agree or refuse. What happens if you refuse?

In Denver, like in many other cities and states, there is an “implied consent law,” so if you choose to enjoy the privilege of driving on public roads, you agree to certain things, like taking a breath test if a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence.

Consequences of refusing

If you refuse to take a breath test, you can get into serious trouble. You might end up in court facing charges related to driving under the influence, you may face an automatic suspension of your driver’s license; and you may have to pay fees, among other consequences.


Like with many other charges, the law allows for defenses. This means that your attorney can argue that the police did not have a good enough reason to ask you to take the test, or that they did not conduct the test properly.

Other types of tests

If you refuse to take a breath test, the police may ask you to take other tests instead, like a blood test or a urine test. Either test can show whether you have been drinking and refusing them has the same effect as refusing a breath test.

In conclusion, think before you act. If you’ve been drinking and driving, getting caught might make you feel nervous or scared, but refusing could make things much worse. It is better to talk with your lawyer to discuss your options and make the best decision based on your specific circumstances.