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Louisiana criminal defense: Should I take a breath test?

Anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Louisiana may be asked to submit to a breath test. This is a simple and quick test that can be done roadside. Law enforcement authorities use it as it is believed to be highly accurate, but the truth is this test is prone to error. So, when asked to submit to a breath test, one should really think about the consequences of doing so, including how the results could impact one's criminal defense if arrested.

When it comes to breath testing, most people feel compliance is mandatory. While implied consent laws do require a person to participate in these tests during a traffic stop, that does not mean that he or she loses his or her right to refuse. One can refuse, but there are usually administrative consequences for doing so -- such as an automatic license suspension. However, it is usually possible to request relief before the administrative panel so as to be able to get to and from work or drive the kids to school.

Choosing to submit or not to submit is a very personal decision. Refusing is suggested only because it can be very difficult to fight test results. In order to invalidate test results, it is necessary to prove that something was wrong with the machine, that the administering officer messed up in some way or the accused used a substance, other than alcohol, that may have produced a high readout -- such as mouthwash or certain medications -- among other things. In other words, participating in this test will most likely not help one's case in court.

Refusing to submit to a breath test is not an admission of guilt; rather, it is a form of protection. No one should be made to feel bad about refusing to take this test. Those individuals in Louisiana who either refused or submitted to breath testing and found themselves facing DUI charges can help themselves by retaining legal counsel as quickly as possible. With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, the right steps toward fighting the DUI charge can be taken.

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