If you are age 21 or older, it is your legal right to consume alcohol. You’re obligated, of course, to adhere to all regulations governing alcohol consumption in Louisiana or wherever you happen to be at the time you imbibe. Nothing can ruin a fun night out with friends like a police officer pulling you over on your trip home. Enjoying a beer or glass of wine with dinner doesn’t necessarily mean you break the law when you later get behind the wheel of your car to drive.
Try to stay calm when a police officer approaches your driver’s side window to ask to see your license and registration information. That’s easier said than done, however, if the next statement instructs you to exit your vehicle. If a police officer thinks you’re intoxicated while driving, he or she can detain you by telling you to get out of your car. What you do and say from that point on may greatly impact the outcome of your situation. What you know about chemical tests can make or break your circumstances.
Louisiana is a no-refusal state
As a licensed driver, you may already be familiar with implied consent laws. Such laws basically mean that when you obtained your driver’s license in Louisiana (or another state) you agreed to submit to chemical testing when a police officer lawfully requests you to do so. The following information explains what can happen if you refuse to take a urine, Breathalyzer or blood test in relation to possible DUI:
- As per implied consent regulations, if you refuse a lawfully requested chemical test, you automate a system that activates administrative penalties, such as driver’s license suspension.
- There are several states, however, that also have no-refusal laws in place. Louisiana is one such state.
- A no-refusal law allows a police officer to obtain an electronically transmitted search warrant to overcome your chemical test refusal.
- Such a warrant means the officer has permission to force you to give a blood sample, take a Breathalyzer test or submit to a urine test to determine your blood alcohol content level.
- You can still refuse a chemical test in a state that has a no-refusal law. However, you cannot refuse to adhere to a search warrant. Also, you must be ready to accept any repercussions legally attached to your refusal.
Many people in Louisiana and beyond have argued that no-refusal laws violate civil rights that protect you and all others from unreasonable searches and seizures. Regardless of any political debate you may hear on the topic, however, the fact is that current laws in this state allow police officers to secure search warrants to force you to take chemical tests if you refuse.
Going from dining out with friends to facing criminal charges for DUI in a single evening’s time can cause tremendous stress and have potential negative consequences toward your future. Others who have experienced similar problems have sometimes been able to avoid conviction by requesting experienced, aggressive legal representation before heading to court.