How Common Is It for a Driver to Refuse a Breath Test

Despite Wisconsin's implied consent law, some drivers choose not to take breath tests when they are accused of drunk driving. Their reasons for declining the tests can vary depending upon their particular circumstances, though those who do choose not to have their blood-alcohol content levels tested can face significant penalties for their abstentions. This post will look at how often drivers refuse breath tests in Wisconsin and how that figure compares to refusals in other states.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has collected breath test refusal data from most of the states in the country. In 2005, data from forty-one states was compiled to show that about 25 percent or approximately one out of every four drivers stopped for suspected drunk driving will refuse a breath test. In Wisconsin, however, that average was slightly lower, with fewer than 20 percent of drivers opting out of providing breath test analyses.

The state with the highest percentage of breath test refusals was Rhode Island with more than 80 percent of drivers refusing to submit to breath tests when asked. The state with the lowest rate of refusals was California with a refusal rate around 5 percent. As readers of this DUI defense blog can see, refusing to submit to breath tests is relatively common throughout the United States.

Submitting to a breath test can provide a law enforcement agency with evidence of a driver's BAC over the legal limit for driving. However, as previously discussed on this blog, refusing a breath test can result in serious consequences befalling a driver. Individuals who wish to learn more about breath test refusals in Wisconsin may speak with their own DUI defense attorneys about the law and potential consequences associated with declining a BAC test.