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Can I refuse a breathalyzer in Washington?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

When you jump in the car after maybe, stopping for dinner and a drink or visiting a friend to grab a beer, you may wonder what to do if you suddenly see sirens in your rearview mirror. If you just had one or two drinks, you might wonder if you can refuse an inebriation test, if the police officer asks for one.

Can you refuse a breathalyzer test in Washington?

Implied consent

Like many other states, Washington drivers live under a law commonly known as implied consent. By definition, when you get behind the wheel, you agree to inebriation testing, if placed under arrest with reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence.

If I already agreed, can I take it back?

Yes, you may refuse, but there are strings attached to that “no.” You may request alternate tests, and officers must tell give you options. Officers must also share some of the automatic consequences of a breath test refusal, like loss of driver’s license for at least one year. Officers can then request a warrant for other testing, like a blood draw.

Final thoughts

While testing is one facet of the law, you have other rights. You can request to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. Though, once you are arrested, always ask to speak to an attorney.

In other words, you can ask to speak with your lawyer before a breathalyzer. The police can still request a warrant, but you have the right to counsel to understand your options.