Most people are unaware of their rights or responsibilities when it comes to a DUI stop. Furthermore, they are uncertain as to the penalties regarding a guilty finding for a DUI versus a breathalyzer refusal. The first thing you need to understand is that when driving in Pennsylvania you are bound by Pennsylvania’s “implied consent” law. What this means is that if you are lawfully arrested for a DUI by an officer who had probable cause to believe you were in fact driving under the influence, you are required to submit to a blood alcohol test – which in most instances will be via breathalyzer.
But you don’t want to submit to the test because you believe the stop and arrest were unlawful, or that you were not intoxicated or…stop. These are concerns to be handled by your attorney at a later time. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test you are exposing yourself to additional legal problems. Rather than facing only a DUI Charge, you will now be facing refusal as well.
What Happens When I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
By refusing, you have now violated the implied consent law, and as such will be subject to penalty, potentially in addition to still being charged with DUI. But how can you be charged with a DUI without a blood alcohol test? Well, the state need only make their case with respect to one of their two available legal prongs proving guilt of a DUI:
- blood alcohol test, and
- officer observation.
As a result, if you refuse to take a blood alcohol test, the state may still secure a guilty verdict through the officer’s testimony regarding the stop and field sobriety tests. So, by refusing to blow you, haven’t saved yourself from harsher punishment, but have potentially doubled your trouble.
The penalties for refusal very much mirror DUI. This is a legislative attempt to persuade citizens to submit to a blood alcohol test, as they will usually be in no worse shape than if they do submit, and are found guilty after the fact.
Once you have refused to submit to a breathalyzer test you are now staring down the chamber of a legal gun with two bullets rather than one. You will need diligent legal counsel to maneuver and resolve this dilemma. The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. will provide you the assistance you need to present the best possible defense against breathalyzer refusal and DUI charges. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our DUI attorneys.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.