When investigating someone for operating under the influence (OUI) (sometimes called "DUI"), it's common for an officer to ask the person to take a breath or blood test to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver's system. The driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the concentration of drugs in the driver's blood is often used to prove a DUI in court.
This article gives an overview of Alaska's implied consent law and the consequences of an unlawful refusal.
Alaska's implied consent law specifies that any person who holds an Alaska driver's license or operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have consented to a blood or breath test to determine the presence of alcohol. For a DUI arrest to be lawful, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that an underage driver was operating a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. Alaska's implied consent laws also require drivers involved in an accident to submit to testing.
Generally, an unlawful refusal to take a blood or breath test is a class A misdemeanor in Alaska. But under certain circumstances, the offense can be a felony.
First offense. For a first offense, the driver faces a license suspension of at least 90 days, at least 72 hours in jail, a six-month ignition interlock device (IID) requirement, and fines of at least $1,500.
Second offense. Second offenders are looking at a license suspension of at least one year, at least 20 days in jail, a 12-month IID requirement, and at least $3,000 in fines.
Third offense. A third conviction carries a license suspension of at least three years, at least 60 days in jail, an 18-month IID requirement, and at least $4,000 in fines.
The term of imprisonment for a refusal conviction can generally be served on house arrest or at a community residential center.