Not many experiences are as intimidating as being pulled over by the police. Add to this the suspicion that you might be driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and what begins as a regular traffic stop can turn out to be your worst nightmare.
If you are stopped for a DUI investigation, law enforcement might require you to take a number of tests to ascertain your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. One such test is the Breathalyzer test. But what if you refuse to yield to the breathalyzer test?
Refusing to yield to the breathalyzer test comes with consequences
Montana is an implied consent state. Basically, by operating a motor vehicle in Montana, you are giving the police consent to administer a breathalyzer test on you if they have reason to believe that you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Therefore, a refusal to take this test can result in the suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year (among other penalties).
Defending your refusal to take the chemical test
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can defend your refusal to submit to the test if the arrest was unlawful.
Here is how this works: The police cannot simply stop and direct you to take a Breathalyzer test on a mere whim. They must have a valid reason for doing so. In other words, they must have probable cause for the stop. For instance, you must be tailgating, driving at night with your headlight off at night or hugging the centreline. If there is no probable cause, then the stop and subsequent arrest can be deemed unlawful.
Safeguarding your rights
Charges associated with drunk driving are quite serious under Montana laws. If you are charged with DUI or refusing the Breathalyzer test, you need to explore your defense options.