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Implied consent laws explained

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2018 | Drunk Driving Charges |

Law enforcement officials in Hot Springs cannot force you to do anything that you do not consent to do, right? Several of those that we here at the Tapp Law Firm have assisted in the past have allowed that assumption to prompt them to refuse chemical testing when they have been suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Needless to say, they were surprised to be arrested for that refusal. While yes, authorities need to have your consent to test your blood, breath or urine, you have already given it to them. 

How? Like most states, Arkansas has an implied consent law. In Section 5-65-202 of the state’s Code of Criminal Offenses, it states that by driving a vehicle, you are deemed to having given your consent to chemical tests of your blood, breath, saliva or urine to determine if you are intoxicated. A law enforcement officer need only have reasonable cause to believe that you may be impaired in order to invoke this law. If you refuse such a test, you may be subject to criminal penalties independent of the potential charges you could face for drunk driving. 

Does this mean that you have to consent to any of the field sobriety tests that an officer may conduct on the roadside? Not necessarily. These do not take direct chemical measurements of your blood-alcohol level, so they do not qualify as chemical tests. The same is true for breathalyzer tests. These are technically considered to be preliminary alcohol screenings. They do not yield results that are as accurate as chemical tests, so they too are not covered under the state’s implied consent law. 

You can learn more about your rights in a suspected DUI case by continuing to explore our site.