Motorists in Tennessee and other states with implied consent laws may discover that refusing to submit to blood alcohol concentration testing could affect their lives for years. Implied consent laws mean that motorists automatically agree to blood, urine, breath and other forms of BAC testing when they are pulled over by authorities. Those who decline to participate in testing at the request of law enforcement officials could receive license suspensions.
Some motorists who refuse a test and get punished with automatic license suspensions subsequently discover that their insurance providers are no longer willing to maintain their policies. Those with prior DUI convictions may also receive increasingly long suspension sentences. In some cases, individuals who refuse a BAC test can be imprisoned or jailed. Depending on the state a motorist was in when they were pulled over, cumulative DUI convictions may result in permanent driving rights revocation.
Traveling from Tennessee to another state and refusing a test could make motorists liable for fines. Although some motorists refuse because they think it will heighten their chances of defending themselves in court, not having BAC evidence won't necessarily stop authorities from moving forward with prosecution. In cases where drivers are judged guilty of DUI offenses, their refusal may also increase the penalties they face.
Those who face DUI charges have numerous choices for how to proceed. Testing positive isn't necessarily an admission of guilt, and although police may attempt to portray cases as being stacked against the accused, individuals still retain many defense options that could mitigate or reduce any sentence they receive. Submitting to voluntary driver's education classes or substance abuse programs, for instance, might signify to judges that an individual is trying to make a positive change. Accused motorists may find that talking to a lawyer about their next steps makes it easier to confront DUI charges head on.