When an officer asks you to take a breath analysis test, it is not abnormal for the first reaction to involve refusal of some sort. After all, it is an invasive test, and you may worry about the possibility of incriminating yourself.
But can you actually refuse to take one of these tests? Surprisingly, you can.
Implied consent laws and public roads
The National Constitution Center discusses the refusal of a breath analysis test, or any other blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement test. In short, while an officer cannot physically force you to take these tests, you will face legal repercussions if you do not.
This is due to implied consent laws. An implied consent law exists in situations where, even if you do not give explicit consent, a rational person could assume that you have given your consent in an implied way.
For the use of public roads in specific, you imply that you give your consent to BAC tests when you drive on them. This is because taking a BAC test if an officer suspects you of driving intoxicated can help protect other drivers using the same public road. Basically, in exchange for the free use of these roads, you must do what you can to protect other drivers.
Penalties you may face
If you insist on refusing to take a breath analysis test, an officer must warn you of the consequences you could face. This may involve extra fines or time in jail if you end up convicted of a DUI crime. It will also always involve a one-year suspension of your license, regardless of other charges you may face.