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DUI Conviction Doesn't Require Breath Test

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Many people who are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated mistakenly believe that if they don't take a breathalyzer test they can't be convicted.

New York state troopers were surprised - not by the findings of the breathalyzer test they administered to a man weaving in and out of traffic - but by his response. While the results were printing, he grabbed the paperwork and tried to eat it.

Most people don't wait until the test is about to confirm what they suspect - that they're over the limit - before they interfere, but rather decide not to take it in the first place.

Here's the thing: Despite the fact that you refuse to take a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or blood test you can still be charged with - and convicted of - drunk driving.

While state laws differ, virtually every state has an implied consent law, which states that any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road is deemed to have given his consent to the taking of his breath for the purposes of determining the content of alcohol in his blood. If you refuse, not only do you face automatic suspension of your license under the implied consent law, the police officer can testify to your slurred speech and erratic driving to show you were drunk even without the test .

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