A police stop is a stressful event, even more so when an officer asks for a chemical test. This request can be nerve-wracking and confusing for the driver because they have the choice to refuse to take the test—however, refusal of a chemical test results in a license suspension. Additionally, refusing to take a chemical test won’t save someone from facing a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI).
The law in Tennessee
Drivers in Tennessee can refuse to take a breath, urine or blood test if an officer asks for one. Still, by doing that, the person commits an implied consent violation. All drivers in the state have given their consent to take a test if an officer requests it, so they break the law when they say no. The implied consent violation results in a suspension of the driver’s license. The length of the suspension depends on the number of prior offenses and circumstances of the driver:
- One year if it is the driver’s first time refusing a test
- Two years if it the driver’s second time refusing a test
- Two years if the driver refused the test after a crash that caused injury
- Five years if the driver refused test after a fatal accident
Some people think that refusing a test equals being free from a conviction for driving under the influence, but that is not the case. The court can still convict someone of DUI if there is enough evidence to believe the driver was intoxicated.
The right to defense
A person can suffer a license suspension immediately after refusing to take a chemical test. However, everyone with a criminal charge for driving under the influence can avoid the consequences of a conviction by defending themselves in court. Those who refuse the test may not avoid a license suspension, but they can avoid jail time and fines if they present the correct arguments to