You do not have to comply with a police officer’s request to take a breathalyzer test. However, you need to be clear that refusal will come at a price.
Under Iowa law, if you drive a vehicle, you give implied consent to Breathalyzer tests, as well as other chemical tests the police could use to determine a DUI or OWI offense. When you break the deal and refuse a test, a court will punish you by revoking your license for a year or two years if you have refused before.
You may be able to apply for a temporary restricted license to get you mobile again, yet only if you install an ignition interlock device at your expense.
Once you take a test, you can challenge it
Does that mean the police can go around stopping and testing who they like when they fancy? No, it does not.
- The police can only stop drivers in certain circumstances, such as at an authorized checkpoint or when they have reason to believe you have committed an offense.
- They can only ask you to take a test when there has been an accident or when they have grounds to suspect you have been driving after consuming drink or drugs.
So, a patrol car could stop you due to a report of a vehicle matching yours leaving a robbery. When you wind down your window and a cloud of marijuana smoke escapes because your passenger has been smoking, they could then ask you to take a test.
Or, they could base the stop and test request on the fact they see you weaving down the wrong side of the street late at night and guess you may have been drinking.
If you refuse a test, punishment is inevitable. If you take it, you can look at the results and investigate all defense options if the police charge you with a DUI or OWI.