Penalties for Breath Test Refusal in PA

breath test refusalAre you facing charges for both DUI and breath test refusal in Pennsylvania? You’re likely facing steep penalties like a suspended driver’s license, probation, and fines. The good news? An experienced DUI attorney can have the charges against you dropped or reduced.

The only way to potentially beat your charges is by hiring a Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney. Call experienced lawyer Steven E. Kellis at (215) 977- 4183 for a free case review.

Breath & Blood Tests and DUI Law in Pennsylvania

Implied consent law in Pennsylvania states that when you obtain your driver’s license, you are automatically consenting to take a breath test if requested. Refusal of breath testing carries its own penalties, including:

  • First offense: One-year license suspension
  • Second offense: 18-month license suspension
  • Third offense: 18-month license suspension

These penalties are in addition to any DUI penalties that you may be facing, which will likely be expensive and time-consuming.

Without the help of an attorney, license reinstatement is a notoriously tedious process. After being arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended for a period of not less than one year.

The arresting officer must forward a Notice of Refusal (DL-26 Form) to inform the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) of the operator’s refusal. Once received, PennDOT forwards the order to the operator that their license shall be suspended 30 days from the date of correspondence. The operator has this time parameter (30 days from correspondence date) to appeal to civil proceedings.

Before you can have your license reinstated, you’ll need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year, after which you’ll have to pay a first-time refusal fee of $500.

If it’s your second time refusing a blood test for DUI in PA, you’ll have to pay $1,000; if it’s your third time, you’ll pay $2,000.

Again, don’t try to outwit the police officer. PA DUI test refusal laws are strict, and you’ll face immediate license suspension on top of your DUI charge.

Defenses for Breath, Blood, or Urine Test Refusal in PA

If someone is charged with a DUI but has refused to take the breath test and blood test, then one can argue that it was not a proper refusal. This is the most common defense, but there are plenty of other ways to have your DUI refusal dismissed in PA.

If we can argue that the driver (the defendant) was not given an opportunity to take the test, or if the officer or the state trooper did not read the proper implied consent warnings to the defendant, then it is not a proper refusal.

That means there will be a good chance that the DUI case could be dismissed if there aren’t any other traffic infractions or officer observations that could harm the defendant in the DUI case.

Pennsylvania Implied Consent Laws

By virtue of operating a motor vehicle and having a driver’s license, you agree to Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws. These state that you agree to take blood alcohol tests if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

License suspensions can be increased for breath test refusal, along with other penalties.

Events Leading Up to a Breath Test

If you are stopped for a traffic violation, the police officer will immediately try to detect any indicators of alcohol consumption, such as the smell of alcohol on you or in your car, red or unfocused eyes, and slurred words.

Once the police officer has reason to believe that you have been driving while under the influence, they will ask you to step out of the vehicle, where they will administer one or more field sobriety tests. These usually include:

  • Standing on one leg
  • Following a light with your eyes
  • Walking in a straight line

Following the “failure” of one or all of these tests, the officer will ask you to submit to a breath test to determine your exact blood alcohol content (BAC).

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the measurement of the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream. The legal BAC limit for driving in Pennsylvania is 0.08 percent. If you are found to have been operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, you can be charged with DUI.

The higher your BAC, the more severe penalties you’ll face. If you’re involved in a DUI accident, the penalties are even higher.

Arrested for DUI and Breath Test Refusal? Contact Our Pennsylvania DUI Attorneys

If you have been arrested for DUI and have refused to take a breath or blood test, you need the help of a credible DUI attorney as quickly as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis online or call (215) 977-4183 for a free consultation today. We’ll fight to protect your rights and driving privileges.