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What happens if you refuse a South Dakota breath test?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If a South Dakota police officer suspects you of drunk driving, they will pull you over and ask you questions. Their goal is to gather evidence to affirm their suspicions.

You would obviously prefer to avoid arrest or criminal charges, so it’s important to understand the rights that you have while interacting with the police. If they ask you to perform a chemical breath test, do you have to agree? 

Testing is not optional if an officer has reason to arrest you

You can decline requested chemical testing until an officer believes they have probable cause for a drunk driving arrest. At that point, you may no longer have the right to decline a breath test without risking secondary criminal consequences.

The state’s implied consent law means that you have already given implied permission for chemical testing by driving on public roads. Although it refers to blood and urine testing in addition to breath testing, the state supreme court has ruled certain applications of this law unconstitutional.

The ruling involved blood testing. Essentially, the courts affirmed that police officers need a warrant to compel someone to undergo a blood test if they do not agree on their own. Compared with blood testing, breath testing is far less invasive and therefore does not require a warrant.

Refusing a breath test could lead to the loss of your driving privileges for 12 months. Refusing the test is also unlikely to prevent the state from bringing impaired driving charges against you. Learning more about your rights during a driving under the influence traffic stop will help you avoid complicating your situation.