Can Your Refusal to Consent to a Chemical Test Be Used Against You in a Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Case?
Drunk driving is a serious crime, and it comes with severe legal consequences. If you are pulled over by the police while driving under the influence of alcohol in Pennsylvania, you can be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). One of the standard procedures in a DUI arrest is to request that the driver submits to a chemical test such as a breathalyzer or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). But, what happens if you refuse to take the test? Could your refusal be used against you in court? In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions and more.
Under Pennsylvania law, when you drive in the state, you automatically consent to taking a chemical test if an officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence. However, you do have the right to refuse the test. But, refusing to consent to a chemical test in Pennsylvania has its legal consequences. Your refusal could be used as evidence of your guilt in a DUI case, leading to more severe penalties.
The prosecution could use your refusal as an indication that you refused to take the test because you had something to hide. The jury could, therefore, draw an inference that your refusal to take the test was due to your knowledge that you were driving under the influence and were therefore guilty. The prosecution could also argue that your refusal implied a consciousness of guilt as allowed under the “implied consent” law in Pennsylvania.
It is essential to keep in mind that the prosecution can use your refusal only as evidence of your guilt of DUI. They cannot charge you with a separate offense for refusing to take a chemical test. Moreover, suppose the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you and request a chemical test. In that case, your refusal may be deemed inadmissible in court.
It is also worthy to note that Pennsylvania has an “expungement” law that allows you to erase your refusal from your record after ten years. However, this only applies to the civil consequence of your refusal, such as license suspension. The criminal record may still show your refusal, which could affect your employment and housing prospects.
Refusing to consent to a chemical test in Pennsylvania can have implications in a DUI case. Your refusal could be used against you as evidence of your guilt, leading to harsher legal consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and responsibilities when dealing with a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania. If you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s best to consult an experienced DUI attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve the best outcome.
Contact Chester County DUI Defense Attorney
It may be possible to fight your Pennsylvania DUI charge and win, but you’ll never know if you plead guilty without first exploring your options. Ciccarelli Law Offices can review your case to determine whether the local Pennsylvania district attorney’s case has weaknesses that are open to challenge. We will prepare each case as though it is going to trial to insure preparation and thorough understanding and will take the case to trial if you are not satisfied with the resolution that is offered. We strive to be zealous advocates and always try to obtain the best results for our clients.
We are based in West Chester PA (Chester County) in Suburban Philadelphia and represent individuals charged with Drunk Driving, DUI, Driving After Imbibing cases Throughout Pennsylvania including but not limited to Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Oxford Exton Phoenixville Parkesburg Malvern Coatesville Lionville Chesterbrook Devon Newtown Square Glen Mills Pottstown Downingtown Kennett Square King of Prussia Paoli and beyond.
You deserve a West Chester Pennsylvania DUI lawyer that is available when you need him, treats you with respect, and protects your rights vigorously. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI Attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices, by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.