Louisiana’s implied consent law

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

The penalties for drunk driving can be harsh in Louisiana, which is why some drivers taken into custody on DUI charges in the Pelican State refuse to submit to chemical testing. Suspected drunk drivers refuse to take breath tests or provide blood samples because they want to deprive prosecutors of crucial toxicology evidence, but this strategy has a couple of major drawbacks. Refusing to submit to chemical testing in Louisiana carries mandatory penalties, and police officers can draw blood anyway if they obtain a search warrant.

Implied consent laws

Every state has an implied consent law that requires licensed drivers to provide breath, blood or urine samples if they are arrested for drunk driving. In some states, drivers are required to take breath tests before they are arrested if police officers have good reason to believe that they are operating their vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Individuals learn about and accept these requirements when they apply for driver’s licenses.

Implied consent in Louisiana

In Louisiana, motorists are required to provide breath, blood or urine samples for toxicology testing only after being arrested on DUI charges. If they refuse, their driving privileges are suspended for 12 months even if they are not convicted. If a motorist refuses to take a breath test twice within a 10-year period, their driving privileges are suspended for two years. These penalties are imposed even if drunk driving charges are dropped or criminal defense attorneys establish reasonable doubt.

A risky strategy

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that about one in five of the drivers arrested on DUI charges each year refuses to submit to breath testing. This violates state implied consent laws and usually leads to a driver’s license suspension. Drivers refuse to take breath tests to prevent toxicology evidence being used against them, but this is a risky strategy. Police reports that mention erratic driving, slurred speech and bloodshot and watery eyes may be enough to secure a DUI conviction, and police officers may obtain search warrants to draw blood from motorists who have refused to provide a breath sample.


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