Breath Test Refusals and DWI Prosecution

There are typically about 1.4 million driving while impaired (DWI) arrests each year in the United States. An officer’s request to a driver for a breath (or blood, or urine) test is an important part of the arrest process. The percentage of drivers refusing to provide a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) sample has varied widely across States. As part of a 2008 Report to Congress (see DOT HS 811 098), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined States’ refusal rates. It also examined the relationship between refusals and impaired driving convictions in three States. Although it is widely assumed that a BAC is needed for a strong DWI court case, and will greatly enhance the chances for conviction, the relationship is not clear. NHTSA contracted with the Mid-America Research Institute to examine the effect that BAC refusals have on the prosecution and adjudication of impaired driving cases. Some of the information from this study was included in the Report to Congress, but this current report provides more in-depth information and includes prosecution and conviction data from two additional States.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 2p
  • Serial:
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01446533
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT HS 811 653
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Sep 19 2012 2:27PM