Refusing to Take the Breath or Blood or Other Evidentiary Test to Determine Your Blood Alcohol Level | Deadlines and Penalties

(Idaho Law)

Refusing to take a breath, blood, or other evidentiary test to determine the alcohol level in your blood carries severe penalties and has a very tight deadline to request a hearing to contest the penalties.

The penalties for refusing a breath, blood or other evidentiary test to determine your alcohol level are as follows:

  1. You will have to pay a $250.00 civil penalty;
  2. You will have to install a State approved interlock system on any vehicle you operate, for a period of one year following the end of any suspension period; and
  3. You will have an absolute suspension of your driver’s license for a period of 1 year if this is your first refusal and an absolute suspension of your driver’s license for two years if this is your second refusal within the last 10 years. An absolute suspension means you are not eligible to receive a work or other permit to drive. Further, if you have a CDL license you will lose your CDL license for 1 year (absolute) for a first refusal and lifetime ban of your CDL license for any subsequent refusal.

People sometimes ask, “should I refuse the evidentiary test?” If the State doesn’t have an alcohol level won’t that make their DUI case more difficult? The more important questions are if I don’t have a valid reason to refuse - can I get along without a driver’s license for one or two years? Do I have a CDL license that may be affected? Am I okay with an interlock device in every vehicle I operate for a year? Perhaps more important to the decision is even if you refuse, the State could obtain a search warrant to draw your blood. If that occurs, you will be charged with the refusal, and they will also get the results they need for the DUI charge. Ouch!

If you do refuse an evidentiary test, you only have 7 days to request a hearing to show cause why you refused. This is a very quick deadline and the penalties are severe. It is important that you obtain counsel right away.

At the hearing you will need to show cause why you refused the breath test. The lawful reasons to refuse the evidentiary test are very limited and often may depend on the particular circumstances of the case.

Some common reasons that may block the refusal penalties are:

  1. If the police did not have reasonable suspicion to suspect you were DUI and request that you take a test
  2. You were not properly advised of the consequences of refusing the test
  3. You tried to comply with the evidentiary test but were physically unable to provide a sample for the test. This is not an exhaustive list and these defenses are not as simple to present to the court as you may think. It is very important that you retain an attorney that is very familiar with and experienced at handling DUI cases.

So now you know about the consequences and deadline for refusing to take an evidentiary test to determine your blood Alcohol level. Please tell your friends because it will be them and not you that needs this advice – right.

John E. Cutler, and the Cutler Law Office, P.A. is a DUI and Criminal Defense Law Firm that has been helping people for 30 years. Mr. Cutler is one of the few attorneys in Idaho that is a member of the National College of DUI Defense. More on Mr. Cutler’s background can be found at