Many New Orleans residents have probably heard about implied consent and probably also know that if they are pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving, they can get in trouble if they do not agree to take a blood or breath test, even though Louisiana law enforcement officers and prosecutors will use evidence from that test to get a DUI conviction.
It is important for New Orleans residents who travel the streets of city to recognize exactly what the law does and does not require. The law assumes that a person who chooses to drive on Louisiana’s roads has given legal consent for an officer to use approved chemical tests to see if that person has controlled substances in their system or over .08 blood alcohol content.
If an officer has good grounds to stop a person and ask for a test and has legally arrested, that is detained, a person and the person refuses to cooperate, then that person’s license may get suspended. The logic that being the driver has broken the agreement he or she made that he or she would consent to such tests. In Louisiana, a breath test refusal on multiple different occasions can be a separate crime, even if the person was ultimately not driving drunk.
However, Louisiana’s implied consent law only requires a person who is detained for drunk driving to submit to an approved test. There is no rule that a person has to give statements to the police or explain themselves. In fact, a person still has the right to remain silent and may be well advised not to answer any questions from the police and simply indicate he or she will take a test. Likewise, there is no rule saying that a person has to cooperate with field sobriety tests or other police procedures designed to get evidence someone is intoxicated.