Can you refuse to submit to a breath test in South Carolina?

Many people are under the misconception that it is legal to refuse a breathalyzer test if requested of them. While laws vary from state to state, in South Carolina, it is illegal to refuse a breath test. This is in large part thanks to South Carolina's "implied consent" laws, which you can review more in-depth in South Carolina Code of Laws.

"Complied consent" in this regard means that if an officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, he or she has every right to stop you and request a breath test. You do not have the right to refuse the test without penalty. When you accepted licensure for operating a motor vehicle in the state of South Carolina, you subsequently assumed certain duties and relinquished certain rights, one of which is the right to refusal, .  

The code further details the consequences of refusing to submit to a breath test. If it is your first offenses, the state may suspend your license for six months. If it is your second offense, the state may suspend your license for nine months. A third offense and any subsequent offenses after that may result in license suspension for one year. You do, however, have the right to challenge the suspension and/or to rescind your refusal. If you rescind your refusal and submit to a breath test, and if the results reveal that your BAC is over 0.15, the state may still suspend your license for one month.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be construed as legal advice.

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