What is Implied Consent?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2020
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Implied consent is different from consent that is given directly, either in writing or verbally. The term refers to consent that is inferred, given a person's actions or even lack of action. This legal concept applies to individuals who are driving on the roadways, as well as corporations who choose to operate in jurisdictions other than where they were founded. It also applies to civil litigation matters.

When someone chooses to go through the process required to get a driver's license and then operates a motor vehicle on the highway, implied consent comes into play. By getting behind the wheel and turning on the ignition, the driver is giving his or her implied consent to abide by the drunk driving laws of the jurisdiction. He or she is effectively consenting to submit to a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer® test if stopped by a police officer for suspicion of operating the motor vehicle under the influence.


The driver is also giving implied consent to providing a blood or a urine sample if asked to do so when stopped by police. The test results are then used as evidence to show that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug. Failing to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample when asked to do so can mean that an individual's driver's license is suspended automatically. This penalty is imposed whether they are charged and found guilty of a criminal offense or not.

Implied consent is also a factor when a corporation commences operations in a state, province or country other than where it was originally founded. By conducting business in a specific region, the company is giving its implied consent that it will comply with the laws of that jurisdiction. Simply establishing a corporate presence in the area implies consent in this situation.

Implied consent comes into play in legal matters when one of the parties fails to object when he or she has the opportunity to do so. The lack of action on his or her part implies consent, and that party to the litigation forfeits his or her right to launch an appeal based on that point of law later. In this type of legal situation, silence implies consent. For that reason, a person who is involved in a legal dispute should consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that his or her interests are being effectively represented.


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