Every driver in the State of Washington impliedly consents to providing a breath or blood sample after being arrested for DUI. Failure to provide such a sample after a lawful request is known as a “refusal”. Whether or not one should take a breath test when requested by an officer of the law can not be summed up in a simple answer. There are several criteria that go into such a decision. Anticipated level of impairment, past DUI history, current probation and potential consequences are but a few of the factors. The requirements in the case of a refusal are laid out in RCW 46.20.308. The most important consequences of a refusal are increased license revocation and jail time upon conviction. See the Washington DUI Sentencing Grid.
For a Washington Court or the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) to find that you have refused to provide a properly requested breath or blood test, a number of things must be proven. First you have to have been read or been allowed to read what are known as your implied consent warnings. These can also be found in RCW 46.20.308. It is important to note that behavior apart from saying, “I refuse” can constitute a refusal. An officer may construe a refusal in cases where a person delays too long in making a decision or pretends to blow into the breath tube. This is known as a constructive refusal and while it may be harder to prove than an actual refusal, Washington DUI law does recognize it as a refusal nonetheless.