All states have “implied consent” laws that stipulate that by having a driver’s license, you consent to taking a chemical test to determine whether you’re impaired by alcohol and/or drugs if a law enforcement officer stops you. Often, this is a Breathalyzer-type test that measures blood alcohol content (BAC).
The penalties for refusing to submit to a test vary by state. Here in Missouri, it’s not illegal to refuse to take a test. However, if you do refuse, the state has the right to revoke your driver’s license for a year. That is called “chemical revocation.”
It’s separate from any DWI arrest
This is separate from any penalties you might face if you’re arrested for and convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). It’s possible to be arrested and convicted based on other evidence. Further, your refusal to submit to a chemical test can be used as evidence against you if you are charged with DWI.
It may be possible for someone who has a chemical revocation to apply for what’s called limited driving privilege (LDP). This can allow you to drive for necessary obligations, like work and school. However, you must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle(s).
You can appeal a chemical revocation
A chemical revocation remains part of your permanent driving record. You have a right to appeal it, but you only have 30 days to file one. It’s important to find out if you have grounds for appeal. For example, you have rights under Missouri law if you refuse to submit to a test, including “twenty minutes in which to attempt to contact an attorney.”
It’s crucial to understand your rights whether you’re facing a chemical revocation or you’ve also been charged with DWI. Having experienced legal guidance can help you protect those rights and deal with the justice system.