Should I refuse a Chemical Test after being stopped for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state, including Pennsylvania. When law enforcement officers suspect a driver has been drinking, driving erratically, or in the event of a car accident, they will pull over the driver. In such cases, one of the standard procedures police officers will perform is a chemical test to check the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The question, then, is – as a Pennsylvania driver – are you obligated to consent to a chemical test when pulled over?
Firstly, it’s essential to understand what the law in Pennsylvania says about refusing a chemical test. The Implied Consent Law, signed by Governor Tom Wolf on July 20, 2017, requires all drivers in Pennsylvania to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test when suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). According to the law, refusing to take the chemical test results in an automatic suspension of the driver’s license for one year for first-time offenders and an 18-month suspension for repeat offenders. The driver also faces significant fines, mandatory participation in alcohol or drug education programs, and even jail time.
Secondly, an individual may think that refusing a chemical test is the right choice since it will make it harder for the prosecution to convict them in court. However, that is not the case in Pennsylvania. Under the Implied Consent Law, driving in Pennsylvania means that you have already consented to these tests. Refusing to take the test results in a license suspension and other consequences. Refusing to take the test is sometimes considered a separate criminal offense. It may also result in the prosecution using the refusal as evidence that you were, in fact, driving under the influence.
Thirdly, the penalties for refusing a chemical test are more severe than for failing one. If you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 72 hours in jail, up to six months, as well as a one-year license suspension for a first-time offense. Additionally, you will be fined up to $5,000 and have to complete alcohol education courses. While the penalties for a refusal are harsher, they may be more useful in a court of law. Without chemical evidence, it may be more challenging for the state to prove their case, although not impossible.
Fourthly, it’s worth noting that if you refuse a chemical test, DUI charges are still likely. In Pennsylvania, prosecutors can use other evidence to prove “impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.” Police body cameras, witness statements, and field sobriety test results can all be used to support a DUI conviction. In many ways, refusing a chemical test may make it harder to fight DUI charges than merely submitting to one.
In conclusion, it’s clear that refusing a chemical test doesn’t necessarily help someone pulled over by the Pennsylvania police for drunk driving – in most cases, it will only worsen the situation. The penalties for refusing the chemical test are more severe than those for failing one. Additionally, a refusal doesn’t mean the prosecution cannot with DUI charges or other evidence to prove that you were driving while under the influence. Therefore, it’s best for a driver in Pennsylvania to cooperate with law enforcement officers and take the chemical test when asked to do so. Doing so may make it easier for them to fight DUI charges in the long run, rather than creating further legal entanglements for themselves.
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.