A motorist who refuses to submit to a breath test after being arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol will stand a better chance of avoiding an OVI conviction than the motorist who submits to the breath test. The results of the breath test are usually the key piece of evidence in an OVI case. Therefore, the prosecution is often willing to reduce charges for the motorist who refuses the test.
Anyone who refuses to submit to the breath test, however, faces other consequences. The license suspension for a refusal is one year on a first offense as opposed to six months for the motorist who consents to take the test. Also, the motorist will face enhanced penalties if he or she refuses to submit to the breathalyzer and has a prior OVI conviction within the last twenty years. Finally, if the motorist holds a commercial driver’s license, that license will be suspended if he refuses to submit to the test with no right to obtain work privileges to operate a commercial vehicle during the suspension for evidentiary reasons.