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Can you refuse a blood alcohol test in Tennessee?

Being arrested for DUI is very scary and intimidating. There are many demands and requests you could face from officers. This includes being asked to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.

BAC test results can have significant impacts in DUI cases. So, a driver might have many fears related to submitting to such a test. Is simply refusing to take the test an option?

Tennessee's implied consent laws: Refuse a test, lose your license

While a driver could turn down a request for such a test, such a refusal carries consequences here in Tennessee. This is because of the state's implied consent laws. Under these rules, individuals arrested for DUI who refuse a BAC test are subject to losing their drivers license for a time. As the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security notes online, a first offense generally carries a one-year license revocation. Repeat offenses or offenses involving serious crashes carry longer revocations.

The many consequences of losing one's license

Having your license revoked under the state's implied consent laws can impact your life in many ways, from your job to your ability to meet your family obligations.

Also, such a revocation could end up costing you a lot of money. For one, there are many fees associated with getting your license back after the revocation period ends. These include:

  • The standard fees for applying for a license
  • A $100 reinstatement fee
  • Depending on your circumstances, possible additional fees, such as a $75 failure-to-surrender-license fee or a $50 fee related to a filing of financial responsibility

Contesting BAC test results

So, refusing a BAC test could have serious implications for a Tennessee DUI suspect. It is important to know that there are alternate ways of addressing concerns you may have regarding such a test, such as concerns over the accuracy and fairness of test results. In some instances, BAC test results can be challenged in a DUI case. For example, a test being conducted improperly could be the basis of such a challenge. Skilled DUI attorneys can give drunk driving suspects guidance on what legal options are available when it comes to concerns they have over BAC tests they took.

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