Can I refuse to take an alcohol test during a traffic stop?

The law is imperative in providing that drivers and pedestrians who are involved in traffic accidents are punishable by a crime of disobedience if they refuse to take a blood alcohol test or a test for psychotropic substances.
Articles 14/03/2024

In the context of these enforcement actions, better known as STOP operations, or in a traffic accident, the police authorities may request your cooperation in carrying out a blood alcohol level test, even if there is no evidence of alcohol consumption. If this happens, you cannot refuse to take the test because if you do, you will be punished with the crime of disobedience, which carries a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 120 days, under the terms of article 348 of the Penal Code.

If the alcohol test detects alcohol in the blood at a level above the legal limit, the driver will be warned of the result, of the legal sanctions applicable to them and that they have the right to a counter-test. In this sense, the driver’s right is to request counter-evidence of the test. They can choose between two additional tests: a new breath alcohol test, “balloon test”, or blood tests, and if the driver decides counter-evidence, they will have to pay all the costs incurred if the result is positive. As part of the counter-test, the test will take precedence over the first test carried out, whatever its result.

In addition, if the driver has tested positive or refused to take the test, in addition to the penalties already mentioned, the driver will be prevented from driving for 12 hours, and the vehicle must be immobilized or driven by another driver who is willing to do so, with the consent of the vehicle owner. If the person who tested positive fails to comply with their driving ban within the following 12 hours, they will be punished with the crime of qualified disobedience, punishable by up to 2 years in prison or a fine of up to 240 days.

The situation is different if there is a time gap between driving and refusing to take the test. This is how the court ruled in a situation where, two hours after a traffic accident, a driver involved in the accident refused to take the test as he was already at his home. You can also complain to the relevant authorities about whether your rights must be respected during a traffic stop.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.


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