DUI and Refusal of a Breath or Blood Test in Pennsylvania
What Happens When You Refuse a Breath or Blood Test After Being Charged with DUI in PA?
If you were charged with DUI and refused a blood or breath test, you may feel that you were well within your rights to not submit to the chemical test.
However, refusing a chemical test (blood or breath) can mean more severe consequences, including losing your license for 12-18 months and being put into the highest punishable “tier” for refusal, if convicted.
The following is a list of some important things to understand if you were refused to submit to a blood or breath test in Pennsylvania or were charged with DUI.
If you wish to speak with a top-rated DUI attorney in Delco, Montco, or Chestco, contact Saadzoi Law for a free consultation.
1) A person can still be convicted of a DUI if they refuse to submit a breath or blood test in Pennsylvania.
There are three tiers of BAC (blood alcohol content) level that the courts look at to determine which level of punishment for DUI you will receive, based also on prior offenses if convicted.
If you were charged with the highest level of BAC for alcohol or test positive for illegal drugs (including medical marijuana) you will receive the highest level of punishment upon a conviction. And if you refused a blood or breath test, you will be placed under the same highest level tier for penalties.
See PennDOT’s website for more information on DUI Legislation and penalties for DUI in PA.
2) Not submitting a breath or blood test will result in a civil penalty for refusal on top of any pending criminal charges.
Refusal means automatically losing your license, plus any criminal DUI charges you may be facing.
In addition to criminal penalties for a DUI conviction, you will lose your license for at least one year, under Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law in PA Code § 1547.
PennDOT considers your driver’s license a privilege and when you obtain your license you also agree to be tested upon the request of a law enforcement officer. If you break this contract, PennDOT automatically suspends your license, even if you are not charged with DUI and even if you win your DUI case in court.
In addition, there is a $2,000 fee to get your license reinstated after the suspension period is over.
Under the implied consent law, officers are required to read you the O’Connell Warnings, which inform you that you will lose your license if you refuse to submit a blood or breath test. The officers are not required to read your Miranda rights before you take the chemical test, even if they transport you in the police cruiser to the hospital.
3) The Penalties for a Blood or Breath Test Refusal for DUI in PA are Harsh.
If you are convicted of DUI in PA and refused a chemical test, in addition to the automatic license suspension by PennDOT, a first offense DUI-refusal means:
- A mandatory minimum of 72 hours to six months of jail time, and;
- A mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum $5,000 fine, and;
- A misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record, and;
- Mandatory drug and alcohol assessment and compliance of treatment;
- A one-year license suspension.
The penalties for a second or subsequent offense increase sharply – see full list of consequences for a DUI conviction in PA.
4) Refusing to breathe into a portable breathalyzer device during a DUI stop is not the same as refusing a chemical breath test at the hospital.
During a traffic stop, officers may request that you take several field sobriety tests so they can better determine whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is all done before your arrest. They also may have a portable breathalyzer they may ask you to blow into.
You are not required to blow into this device, and it is not very accurate and not admissible in court. However, cooperating with police officers is in your best interest, and not complying will only make them more suspicious and frustrated.
5) Law Enforcement in PA does NOT need a search warrant to request a breath test after a DUI arrest.
Once you are under police custody and they ask you to take a chemical breath test, the police do not need a warrant. If you refuse to comply without one, it will only lead to being charged with the highest level tier for DUI in PA.
However, a search warrant is required for a blood test. If law enforcement does not obtain a search warrant for a blood test, and you refuse the blood test, you will be placed under the General Impairment, or lowest tier for DUI.
Read more about the penalties for each of the BAC level tiers for DUI in PA.
In addition, the police have two hours to administer testing from the time you were driving. If more than two hours lapse, it is possible that the results of the test will not be admissible in court.
6) You Have the Right to Fight DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
Although refusal of DUI testing can make a case more challenging, you still have every right to dispute the charges and attempt to have them reduced or withdrawn.
The court-savvy and experienced DUI Lawyers at Saadzoi Law can help you with this process. Attorney Saadzoi has years of experience in winning DUI cases and other criminal cases in court. She is a successful DUI attorney who cares about her clients and improving their lives.
There are many alternatives to a DUI case than simply accepting a guilty verdict. The ARD Program could be one such option. If there were any missteps in how your case was handled by law enforcement, we can uncover them and use that to try to have the charges withdrawn.
When your freedom, your license, your rights, and your future are on the line, only an excellent DUI attorney can help you get the best possible outcome. There are several things that can be done to minimize your fines and penalties, as well as make attempts to get your license reinstated as soon as possible.
Call DUI Attorney Wana Saadzoi for a free case evaluation. Her years of experience have given her a track record of not just being an excellent attorney, but being the highest-rated criminal attorney in Southeast Pennsylvania.
7) You Have the Right to Appeal a Suspended License
If your license was suspended, you have only 30 days to make an appeal once you have received a letter from PennDOT stating that your license will be suspended.
Once an appeal is filed, a supersedes order can be filed allowing you to continue to drive until your appeal hearing.
An experienced DUI Attorney can help you with filing an appeal and fighting your DUI charges.
Saadzoi Law has extensive knowledge of the legal system and DUI court process in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Chester County. We know what it takes to fight and win against DUI charges in Pennsylvania.
Attorney Saadzoi offers free consultations – Call Pennsylvania DUI Attorney Wana Saadzoi today
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Get Information on DUI Laws in Pennsylvania:
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- Court Process and DUI in DelCo PA
- Your License and DUI
- DUI Over .16% BAC
- First Offense DUI
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- DUI Drugs / Controlled Substance
- PA DUI Lawyer
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- Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania
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