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Why are there implied consent laws for drunk driving?


Governments like those that operate in the state of Wisconsin create legislation in an interest to improve the lives of the people who live in their jurisdictions. Improvement of a citizen's quality of life can take on many forms, from providing the citizen with reliable access to utilities to protecting the citizen's safety through first responder and police services. Laws, ordinances, and regulations give citizens rights and obligations, and provide a blueprint for how people should act to be responsible members of their community.

Many governments create laws about drunk driving, and this Sheboygan DUI defense blog has devoted a number of prior posts to the serious consequences a person can face if convicted of drunk driving. One law that may confuse some Wisconsin residents is the state's drunk driving implied consent law. Very generally, the law dictates that if a person chooses to drive on Wisconsin roads, he gives implied consent to take a breathalyzer test if he is stopped by law enforcement officials under the suspicion of drunk driving.

The purpose of the law is generally for deterrence. Drunk driving is perceived as a dangerous behavior and a threat to the safety of individuals who travel on local roadways. By securing the implied consent of every driver in the state to take a breathalyzer through his use of Wisconsin roads, law enforcement officials should have an easier time catching people who are engaged in allegedly dangerous conduct.

On the other hand, Wisconsin residents have rights, and one of those rights is to refuse to take a breathalyzer test when stopped by authorities. Although penalties do attach to such a test refusal, it is up to the individual to decide if a refusal would serve his best interests.

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