By Chris Durden
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:42 PM CDT, May 31, 2012
Kansas lawmakers have made it illegal to refuse a breathalyzer if you're stopped by police.
Beginning July 1, the penalty for refusing to take the test will be the same as if you are convicted for a DUI.
There is an exception.
First time offenders can still refuse the breathalyzer and not facing a penalty. However, if you refuse the second time you're pulled over, you’re breaking the law.
Sixteen other states have similar laws making it a crime to refuse a blood alcohol test.
Prosecutors say in the past, refusing the test made it difficult to prosecute because of lack of evidence.
District Court Judge Phillip Journey says this new law will be good for Kansas.
"It will help get drunk drivers off the road...now if they refuse the crime has the same penalties as being convicted of a DUI," Judge Journey said.
Critics of the law say it could be considered unconstitutional.
"When you make it a crime to refuse, it causes constitutional rights to come into play. The right to have an attorney the right to refuse to speak and when you do those things your responses can't be held against you when you do that,” said Wichita Attorney Charlie O'hara.
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