Can I Refuse A Breathalyzer in Arkansas?

Kevin M. Lemley

As a licensed driver in Arkansas or another state, you’re required to take a breathalyzer test by law. But you’ve probably wondered, can you refuse to take the test, and what happens if you do?

You may have your reasons for refusing to take the test. It may be inconvenient, unfair, or even illegal to take the test, especially when defective breathalyzers have led to wrongful arrests and convictions.

You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test here in Arkansas, but there will likely be severe consequences unless you can prove you had a right to do so. That will depend on your unique circumstances, which you will discover below.

What Is A Breathalyzer?

A breathalyzer is a device used to measure alcohol levels in the bloodstream. You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test if you have a legitimate reason. For example, health problems such as asthma and hyperventilation could mean you cannot provide a sufficient sample of air.

However, you should inform the officer of the same because it is likely you will still be charged with “refusal to take a chemical test.”

That’s because there are clauses that make refusal to submit to breathalyzer tests an offense when you have been stopped or arrested for DWI reasons. You can be charged with a violation of “Refusal” regardless of where you were drunk driving.

Although an officer can’t physically force you to take the test, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of refusing to take the test.

Arkansas’ Implied Consent Law And DUIs

Implied consent means that when you drive on the state’s roads, you automatically consent to take chemical tests such as the breathalyzer test. Driving is a privilege granted by the state, not a right, and therefore the state has control over who drives on its roads.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DWI), you may be subject to arrest, jail time, and a fine..

That being said, Arkansas laws allow that a person arrested for DWI “shall have the right to refuse consent to a breathalyzer test or any other test or examination authorized by this subchapter.”

The code goes on to say that if that person refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, their driver’s license shall be suspended for six months.

A DWI conviction in Arkansas means you could face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for the first offense. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months with a requirement to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle. Further, depending on your case, you may also be required to attend an alcohol awareness or treatment program.
Subsequent DWI convictions carry higher fines and penalties with the possibility of a complete driver’s license ban.

When Can I Be Required To Submit To A Breathalyzer Test?

In Arkansas, all drivers must submit to a chemical test if arrested for driving under the influence (DWI). However, certain circumstances allow you to refuse a breathalyzer test without facing criminal charges.

If you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may also have to submit to a breathalyzer test. In such a case, the arresting officer has the discretion to require that you take a breathalyzer test before being released from custody. The officer can also get a warrant for a blood draw or a urine sample. .

If you are arrested for DWI and feel taking a breathalyzer test would violate your rights or disadvantage you, it’s important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review the applicable laws in your state and advise you on the options available to you.

Final Thoughts

Remember, Arkansas law allows you to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test if you reasonably believe it will result in unfair treatment.
If you’re arrested for refusing to submit to the test, consult a DWI lawyer immediately to get the help you need to fight potential refusal and DWI charges.

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20,667 Drunken-Driving Convictions Tainted by Bad Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey (Published 2018). (2022). Retrieved 22 July 2022, from
2010 Arkansas Code :: Title 16 – Practice, Procedure, And Courts :: Subtitle 6 – Criminal Procedure Generally :: Chapter 81 – Arrest :: Subchapter 1 – General Provisions :: § 16-81-104 – Warrant of arrest generally.. Justia Law. (2022). Retrieved 22 July 2022, from
2015 Arkansas Code :: Title 5 – Criminal Offenses :: Subtitle 6 – Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Or Welfare :: Chapter 65 – Driving or Boating While Intoxicated :: Subchapter 2 – Chemical Analysis of Body Substances :: § 5-65-205 – Refusal to submit to a chemical test.. Justia Law. (2022). Retrieved 22 July 2022, from
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