Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you could face hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time. But what happens if a Pennsylvania trooper or police officer pulls you over and requests a chemical test after arresting you for DUI? Can they force you to take one? In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you need to know about Pennsylvania DUI laws for chemical testing.
Under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law, any person who operates a vehicle on a Pennsylvania roadway has given their implied consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine if requested by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. If you refuse to take a test, your license will be suspended for at least one year for a first offense, two years for a second offense, and three years for a third offense.
However, this does not mean that a law enforcement officer can forcefully subject you to a chemical test. A police officer must have probable cause to believe that you’ve been driving under the influence before requiring you to take a chemical test. In Pennsylvania, officers must first take a preliminary breath test (PBT) at the scene of the stop, which is not admissible in court. After making an arrest, the officer can request a more reliable chemical test at the station or hospital.
A law enforcement officer must inform you of your rights and the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test. If you refuse to take a test, the officer will inform you that your license will be suspended and may require you to sign a form acknowledging that you have been so advised. After refusing the test, you’ll be taken into custody and may face additional criminal charges.
It’s essential to note that you cannot be forced to give a blood sample if you object on religious grounds or are taking anticoagulant medication, which may increase the risk of bleeding. However, in other cases, a warrant may be sought if you refuse to give a chemical test, and a forcible blood test may be administered. Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that law-enforcement officers could compel drivers that the officers have probable cause to believe are impaired to submit to blood tests without a warrant.
In Pennsylvania, chemical testing is an essential component of DUI cases, and law enforcement officers have the authority to administer them as part of their investigation. Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test face significant consequences, including the immediate suspension of their license. However, police officers must follow specific protocols to request a chemical test, inform drivers of their rights and the consequences of refusing, and stay within the bounds of the law when administering tests. If you’re facing a DUI charge or have questions about Pennsylvania’s DUI laws and chemical testing, it’s best to consult an experienced DUI attorney.