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Should I Take The Breath Test?

By Wayne Schoeneberg
December 2, 2021

Should I take the breath test? People ask me that question all the time. There is no one answer that fits all circumstances. The answer depends on many things.

Of course, if you have had no alcohol at all to drink then the answer to “should I take the breath test” is a “yes.” That does not mean you might not then be asked to give a blood or urine sample to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs.

Most likely you are being asked to take the breath test because some law enforcement official already believes you are under the influence of alcohol. So, there is some risk that you might blow over the legal limit which, in Missouri is .08.

Missouri law states that if you are over 21 years of age and blow .08 or above you are going to have your license suspended for 30 days and be eligible for a 60-day restricted driving privilege once you file an SR-22. Your privilege to operate a motor vehicle is restricted to certain places. One of those is to attend a SATOP program.

If you complete SATOP, file an SR-22 and pay a reinstatement fee you then get your license back. But the administrative suspension stays on your driving record permanently.

If you refuse to take the breath test your license is revoked for one year. When your license is revoked, you are not allowed to drive unless you apply for and are granted a hardship or restricted license.

You may be eligible for one of those after ninety days.

When you are revoked for refusal to take the breath test you can challenge that refusal in court. You may win if the Director of Revenue cannot show certain things at a hearing in front of an impartial judge. In some cases, we are able to work out a deal with the prosecuting attorney that allows you to keep your license. It is not a certainty and does not apply in every case.

You see, there is no easy answer to “should I take the breath test?”

The best way to avoid being in that situation is to have a designated driver or use a ride share service like Lyft or Uber.

If you need more information about this question please contact me.