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Can you refuse a sobriety test in Iowa?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | OWI/DUI |

When faced with a traffic stop on suspicion of DUI, you might wonder what your rights are in terms of sobriety test refusal. Every driver should understand their rights as well as the risks when refusing a sobriety test.

There are several things you should consider when it comes to refusal.

Right of refusal

In Iowa, as in many other states, you have the right to refuse a sobriety test. This includes both field and chemical sobriety tests, such as breath tests. While you have a right to refuse, you may also face repercussions for doing so.

Penalties for refusal

The state of Iowa has an implied consent law. That law dictates that you consent to sobriety tests by obtaining a license and operating a motor vehicle. Refusing those sobriety tests can lead to penalties such as automatic suspensions and fines. These penalties are not contingent on a criminal conviction. Instead, a refusal suspension can take effect immediately while you await any other charges.

Not only that but, you face a longer suspension if you have prior refusals or convictions, leading to a period of several years in some cases. This can significantly affect your life even without a DUI conviction, so consider the option carefully.

Test result disputes

You may not realize that you can dispute the accuracy and reliability of the test results in any case. Factors such as improper administration, calibration and maintenance issues or medical conditions can call the findings into question.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31% of traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. Given that prevalence, law enforcement may get overenthusiastic about traffic stops. Understand your rights regarding sobriety tests in case you face a traffic stop for suspicion of DUI.