So you have given the nice officer the two beer story, failed the field sobriety tests and been arrested for suspicion of drunk driving. You get the quiet ride to the station (or in some locales they just do this in the field) and now comes the critical decision: Should you blow or refuse. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer, Idaho law provides for a one-year absolute suspension of your driving privileges by the Court (if you are convicted) AND the Department of Transportation. So refusing the test comes with a high price. Some folks do so, however, because they believe that the State’s case will be tougher without an actual test. But is it really harder to convict someone without a breathalyzer result?
The first problem with refusing the breathalyzer is the administrative consequence – your license to drive will be seized and suspended by the Department of Transportation for a year. Compare that with 120 days for a first time offender who blows more than .08. Essentially, every person who acquires a driving license consents to a test of his or her blood, breath or urine to determine whether there are drugs or alcohol in their system while driving. And it is possible now for an officer to force you to take a blood test if you refuse the breathalyzer.
There are areas of attack for experienced criminal defense lawyers when confronted with a breathalyzer result evidencing drunk driving. The attacks generally focus on the science behind the breathalyzer, the maintenance and upgrading of the machine, the training of the officer, and the failure of the officer to follow proper procedures in administering the test.
If you do not take the breathalyzer you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer at once, There are challenges that might save your license. An attorney in this area of law can explain your options and help you defend that case you never want to see – "State of Idaho v. You!"
So should you blow – taking your chances on the machine and your recollection of how much you had to drink? Or should you refuse? Generally I advise folks to blow – unless they truly believe that their result will be above .20. At that level the State has additional penalties for the "excessive DUI." If you think the result is wrong, and have been arrested for DUI, get a lawyer as soon as you can.
Driving drunk is lethal. The best solution would simply be to take the cab, but people who have been drinking seldom choose the best solution.