You’ve just been pulled over by a police officer. As the officer is speaking to you, he begins to suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At this point, he insists on giving you a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
While you may think that you can get away with drunk driving by refusing the test, you would be opening yourself up to even more severe legal consequences. This is because, in the state of Wisconsin, refusing to take a drug test is essentially admitting guilt.
Why is this, and what are the legal consequences of doing so? Here is everything you need to know about refusing a drug test while driving in Wisconsin.
Understanding Implied Consent
You might argue that having to take a drug test is taking away your ability to consent. After all, consent involves you willfully participating in something.
But, according to Wisconsin law, the very idea that you may be indulging in illegal substances is essentially a statement of consent. In legal terms, this is known as implied consent. In essence, if you’re suspected of indulging in illegal drugs, or if you’re operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, you’re legally required to participate in a breath, field sobriety, or drug test.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been arrested or not. If you don’t take a test when being told to, you are effectively breaking the law.
And it should be noted that, in many cases, refusing a drug test will actually carry harsher penalties than DUIs or OWIs.
Penalties For Refusing a Drug Test in Wisconsin
Refusing a drug test carries different penalties based on how many times you’ve refused a test. The more tests you refuse, the harsher penalties you’re subjected to.
If you refuse a drug test for the first time, you will have your driver’s license taken away from you for a full year. In addition, you will be forced to install an ignition interlocking device in your vehicle. This device requires that you blow in it before your car will start.
While you could potentially apply for an occupational driver’s license, there will be a 30-day waiting period before you can receive it.
If, by chance, you’ve got an individual under the age of 16 in your car while you’re refusing the test, these penalties can be doubled.
Refusing a drug test for the second time in 10 years will, as stated above, land you with even harsher penalties.
In this case, you will have your driver’s license taken away for two full years. You will also have an ignition interlocking device installed in your car.
Again, a 30-day waiting period will be initiated in order for you to secure an occupational driver’s permit. And again, penalties will be doubled if you have a child in your car at the time of refusal.
If you refuse a drug test for a third time in 10 years, you will be subjecting yourself to even harsher penalties.
Doing this will result in you having your license taken away for 3 full years. It will also ensure that you have an ignition interlocking device installed in your car for 3 years, preventing you from ever operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
In this case, you will have to wait 120 days before applying for an occupational driver’s license. Again, having a child in your car at the time of refusal will result in a doubled sentence.
Charged With Refusing a Drug Test While Driving in Wisconsin?
If you’ve arrived at this page, there’s a reasonable chance that you yourself have been charged with refusing a drug test while driving in the state of Wisconsin. While the deed may already be done, there is still a chance for you to lessen the severity of your penalty.
To give yourself the best shot in court, you’ll need a stout legal defense. We here at Hartley Pecora are that legal defense.
Contact us today for a free consultation!