Refusal to submit to chemical testing is NOT a crime in the State of Iowa. It does, however carry with it additional licensing consequences that are more severe than if a person submits to chemical testing and “fails.”
According to the United States Supreme Court, so long as a police officer has probable cause to believe that a person has been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and has reason to believe that the time it will take to obtain a warrant will result in unreasonable loss of evidence (i.e. dissipation of blood alcohol concentration) he may conduct a forced blood draw without violating the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. While a forced blood draw is permissible under the 4th Amendment to the United State Constitution under the proper circumstances, Iowa law specifically prohibits forced blood draws for non-death operating while intoxicated cases. Instead of risking the confrontation between the officer and arrestee and the medical issues that may attend to a forced blood draw, Iowa’s implied consent law specifically provides that an individual may refuse chemical testing. However, in an effort to convince people to consent to chemical testing instead of refuse, Iowa’s implied consent law also provides for increased license suspension and also specifically provides that the person’s refusal to submit to chemical testing may be admissible in the prosecution for operating while intoxicated.
Providing a breath test or other chemical test that indicates an alcohol concentration in excess of the legal limit is obviously self incriminating. By refusing chemical testing, the State does not have that evidence to prosecute the individual for test “failure” and must then attempt to convince a jury that the person was “under the influence of alcohol” which is much more difficult to do. Given the fact that the arrested person is being asked to provide evidence against himself/herself but is facing the potential consequence of a more severe license suspension, the decision is a difficult one. Whether to consent to or refuse chemical testing often comes down to the perceived consequences on the arrested persons life and livelihood. Some people have more to lose if they are convicted of the criminal offense and thus, election not to take the test may be in their best interest to increase their chance of prevailing on the criminal charge. Others depend upon their driving privileges for work and family and thus, minimization of the interruption to their driving privileges is paramount. It truly is a personalized decision that should only be made after exercising ones right to consult with an attorney and/or family member before making that decision.
Owi-DUI.com provides you with Iowa's Best Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. If you refused to submit to a test, regardless of whether you were subsequently forced to submit to a test, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. You have ten (10) days to take legal action that can make all the difference between you being able to drive in the future. To contact an attorney, please call 1-877-749-7858 or use the online form (usually faster).