Many of us know the sinking feeling of seeing flashing lights behind us accompanied by the sound of a siren, telling us we need to pull over. Whether you’re being stopped for a taillight infraction or a DUI, being stopped by law enforcement is a frightening experience. That said, if you’ve had more than one drink and are being stopped by the police, you likely know you’re about to get in serious trouble, so, in the heat of the moment, you wonder, “should I refuse to take the breathalyzer test?” While this may seem like a reasonable question, especially if you know you’re going to get arrested for driving while intoxicated if you take the test, is this the best course of action? Please continue reading and speak with our seasoned Allegheny County DUI lawyer to learn more.
Will it work to my benefit if I refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Pennsylvania?
In short, no, it won’t. Pennsylvania observes what’s known as “implied consent,” which means that if an officer has a reasonable suspicion you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are required, by law, to submit to a breath or blood test. If you refuse to take a lawfully-requested breathalyzer test, you will likely be arrested for refusal and presumed to be in the highest BAC range. The prosecution can even use the refusal as evidence of your guilt at trial. Even if you successfully fight off a DUI charge in court, you’ll still face refusal penalties.
What are the penalties for breath test refusals in PA?
The penalties for breath test refusals depend on a few factors, but primarily whether you have any prior refusal convictions. For a first breath test refusal conviction, you will lose your driver’s license for up to one year. For a second or third breath test refusal conviction, you will likely lose your driver’s license for up to 18 months. You should note that these license suspensions take effect almost immediately, as law enforcement is required to report the refusal to PennDOT once you are arrested.
Once your driver’s license is suspended, you can expect to face a wide range of hardships, including being unable to travel to work, school, or even just to see friends or relatives and socialize, something critically important to our mental health. For this reason, if you’re ever charged with a DUI or are facing breath test refusal charges, the most important thing you can do is retain the services of a seasoned Pittsburgh DUI lawyer who can fight your charges at every turn. The Law Offices of George Heym is here to help. Give us a call or contact us online today.