Blood, Breath, Urine Test Refusals in Pennsylvania DUI Cases
Pennsylvania's implied consent law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine if you're arrested for DUI. It is the duty of the police officer to provide a motorist arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with a simple warning: your "operating privilege will be suspended upon refusal to submit to chemical testing."
Refusal to submit to a chemical test after a Pennsylvania DUI arrest can be punished by a one-year driver's license suspension and up to three days in jail. If you've been arrested for drunk driving, you need a skilled defense lawyer on your side. The Pennsylvania DUI attorneys at Levow & Associates will thoroughly review your case and help you develop an aggressive defense strategy.
A chemical test refusal in a Pennsylvania DUI case is a civil matter, not a criminal case. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation can suspend your driver's license for a full year if you're found to have refused a chemical test after a lawful PA DUI arrest. The burden of proof in civil matters is lower than in criminal matters, so the state isn't required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. It may be possible to challenge your chemical test refusal in your Pennsylvania DUI case. Once PennDOT's burden has been met, the motorist must prove that his refusal was not knowing or conscious or that he was physically unable to take the test. Establishing the circumstances of your refusal is critical to determining the appropriate challenge.
There are actually two types of refusals - expressed and implied.
An expressed refusal occurs when police tell you they're going to administer a chemical test and you clearly say no. Some drivers refuse a chemical test because they believe that the absence of evidence about their blood alcohol content (BAC) will make it more difficult to convict them of drunk driving. However, most DUI defense lawyers recommend submitting to a chemical test because of the harsh penalties that can be imposed for refusing.
The other kind of refusal that can occur in a Pennsylvania DUI case is an implied refusal - where you didn't clearly say no but police recorded a refusal anyway. There are a number of circumstances that could lead to an implied refusal. For example, a driver could be physically unable to perform a breath test because of a health problem. Instead of allowing that driver to take a blood test instead, police sometimes record a refusal.
Although you don't have the right to consult with an attorney before submitting to a chemical test in a Pennsylvania DUI case, police must inform you of the consequences of a refusal. If you weren't adequately warned of the repercussions of a refusal, it is possible that you not have to suffer the penalties that can be imposed upon you.
The penalties for a chemical test refusal in a Pennsylvania DUI case are harsh, but it may be possible to have the refusal excused. Your Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at Levow & Associates will thoroughly review the circumstances of your refusal to determine whether it can be challenged. Please contact us today for a free consultation.