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Breath Test Refusals and Their Effect on DWI Prosecution

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This report describes the design and results of a project aimed at estimating the rate that drivers refuse to submit to a legally-requested breath alcohol concentration test, and the effect of such refusals on the prosecution of DWI cases. The study found the mean refusal rate to be 21% in 39 jurisdictions providing data, a very small change from that found in prior studies. The study did not indicate a clear relationship between refusing a BAC test and the probability of conviction for DWI/DUI across five local study sites. Generally, the case studies suggested that the difference in conviction rate between refusers and compliers was quite small. Refusers who were convicted, however, consistently received greater penalties than non-refusers who were convicted.