Refusing a blood or breath test to get away from a DUI charge is not a suggested course of action. The implied consent law of Pennsylvania requires you to submit your breath, blood, or urine to a chemical test if you're arrested for DUI. In theory, you could face penalties for violating implied consent laws as well as a DUI conviction if you refuse to take the test. This means that all drivers shall be considered to have consented to a chemical test if a police officer has reasonable grounds to think that a driver is under the impact of alcohol as per Pa. C.S.A. 75 § 1547. In other words, the fact that you were driving implies that you consent to chemical testing.
It is the police officer's obligation to give a basic warning to a driver detained on suspicion of driving under the influence: ‘your driving privilege will be suspended on refusal to submit to chemical testing.' An investigating officer will often ask a suspected impaired driver to take a breath or blood test to determine the quantity of alcohol or drugs in the driver's system. Prosecutors regularly use the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver or the concentration of drugs in the blood of the driver to demonstrate a DUI in court. Refusal to submit to the test will have implications both civil and criminal.
CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSING A TEST
Unwillingness to submit to a blood or breath test following a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can be punished by suspension of a one-year driver's permit and up to three days in prison.
This suspension arises directly from a breach of the law of consent implied. If you're convicted of DUI, it's NOT the same as the suspension you receive. If you are convicted, you will be serving another suspension of the driver's license for the DUI offense. If you are not convicted, while no extra suspension will occur, you will still have a suspension of a driver's license for refusing to submit to chemical testing. Your driver's permit will be suspended for a year for your first rejection. Further, your driver's permit will be suspended for 18 months for a second or subsequent rejection. The Transportation Department of Pennsylvania may suspend your drivers license for one full year if after a legitimate PA DUI arrest you are discovered to have refused a test. In civil matters, the burden of evidence is smaller than in criminal matters, so the state is not needed to demonstrate its case beyond reasonable doubt.
After your refusal to take the test, a special notice must be sent to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) by the police officer. This particular form is called the Refusal Notice (DL-26). The penalties for a chemical test refusal in a Pennsylvania DUI case are harsh, but it may be possible to have the refusal excused. It is pertinent to mention here that you have the right to APPEAL the suspension and request a hearing before a Judge.
VALIDITY OF THE TESTS
Proper measures should be taken while administrating the tests. If these instructions have not been followed, the findings of the experiment will be invalid. Challenges that can be created include:
- The test was wrongly administered
- The test administrator was not certified correctly.
- The machine was incorrectly calibrated.