Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially when it comes to their own bodies. Laws that respect privacy and autonomy can often overlap with safety concerns for others, with varying rates of success on either side of the fence. So, when a person chooses to get behind the wheel after they have had too many drinks, should they then have the right to refuse a DWI test? Has that person given up all rights to their body when they are suspected of endangering the lives of others on the road?
This gray area causes plenty of concern, especially when it comes to drinking and driving. For instance, in Phelps County, Missouri, you may want to think twice about denying a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop. A new law in Phelps County lets your arresting officer obtain a warrant for a blood test… a much more invasive (and painful) procedure than blowing into a breathalyzer.
“Implied consent” laws are common across the country, and a normal part of getting our driver’s license to begin with. In order to legally drive, we have already consented to roadside sobriety testing, whether field sobriety tests or a police breathalyzer test, or both types. Refusing those tests only increases suspicion about our level of intoxication, plus, an officer is tied up for much longer than necessary in most cases. At the end of the DWI incident, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are discovered and the legal process continues, no matter how loudly we refuse the testing.
Many can say that “no refusal” blood draw laws keep the streets safe from drunk drivers, but, we have a better idea: just don’t drink and drive. Facing the consequences for your DWI (court costs, ignition interlock device, etc.) plus the additional penalties for refusing the sobriety testing in the first place is bad enough. Why add more to your plate, when you could just make the personal, autonomous decision to get yourself home safe and sober?