The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that once you turn down an alcohol breath test, you’ve lost your chance. The case involved a central Iowa traffic case. A Des Moines police officer stopped Toby Welch in August of 2009 for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
A preliminary breath test showed he was above the legal blood alcohol limit. Welch refused to take a second breath test at the jail after calling and leaving a message with his lawyer. His lawyer called back and 11 minutes after refusing to take the second test, Welch changed his mind, but the officer told him it was too late.
Iowa law required Welch’s driver’s license be suspended for one year for refusing to take the second test. He appealed, saying he changed his mind in a short amount of time and should have been allowed to reconsider. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the license suspension, saying a precedent was set in earlier rulings to allow just one refusal.
The court says this provides uniform, clear guidance to law enforcement in these cases. The court said Welch was given all his legal options as required before he made his decision to refuse the test, and his license suspension should stand.
See the complete ruling here: Welch case PDF