Refusing a Breath Test Is a Crime?

In the state of Montana, every registered driver has given their implied consent to take a breath test by reason of receiving a driver’s license. However, even with implied consent, every citizen maintains a constitutional right to refuse to give a breath test. If you exercise your rights, you should not be charged with a crime for doing so, right?

The City of Missoula disagrees. The City of Missoula has enacted an ordinance that makes it a complete and separate misdemeanor crime for someone to invoke their right to refuse, and actually refuse to take a breath test. Now, for exercising your rights, you will face up to 6 months in jail and fines, in addition to being automatically arrested for DUI, and having your license suspended for 6 months, just for the refusal. This makes the stakes of deciding to refuse greater and greater. Yet, we are to believe we still maintain a right to refuse. Let me know what you think of this, or call our office to discuss.