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Implied Consent

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Definition - What does Implied Consent mean?

Under implied consent laws, the driver or anyone who is operating a motorized vehicle in a state has given their "implied consent" to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test if asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. Refusing to take a chemical test (at the request of a law enforcement officer) or failing a chemical test allows the state to suspend the driver's license for a specified time period. The amount of time for the driver's license suspension can vary by state. Drivers may also have the right to challenge their driver's license suspension by filing for an Administrative License Hearing within a specified time period.

Opponents of implied consent laws argue that it is in direct violation of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights as outlined in the United States Constitution which states, "the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated" and the individual's Fifth Amendment rights that state that, "no person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". Challenges to current implied consent laws which argue that a driver should not be forced to incriminate themselves have not been successful.

Drivers should be aware of all of the consequences under implied consent laws if they refuse to submit to a chemical test. Some states require law enforcement officers to give drivers warning but other states do not.

Related Links

  • BAC -- more information on blood alcohol concentration from www.duiattorneyhome.com
  • Fourth Amendment -- description of the Fourth Amendment and more.

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