Breath Test Refusal

Pennsylvania law mandates that every driver arrested for DUI submit to a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test to determine their blood alcohol level. If the driver refuses to submit to a test, they can be charged with DUI and will have their license suspended automatically.

The consequences aren’t worth trying to outsmart the Pennsylvania legal system. If you were pulled over and lawfully arrested for DUI, you need to comply with the orders that the officer gives you.

It’s important to note that while most DUI arrests are made in compliance with the law, some are not. Sometimes, police officers unlawfully arrest suspects or administer chemical tests improperly. If this is the case, a Pennsylvania DUI attorney will fight to have your charges dropped. 

Keep reading to learn more about the possible consequences of refusing a breath test, then call attorney Steven Kellis to get started on a strong and compelling defense.

Events That Lead 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).

The amount of alcohol in your blood will influence the severity of your charges and penalties: a higher BAC comes with harsher penalties than a low BAC, as long as the intoxicated driver didn’t injure or kill anyone while driving.

Again, don’t try to outwit the police officer. If you refuse a breath test in Pennsylvania, you will face immediate license suspension on top of your DUI charge.

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, and if you are found to have been operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, you will be charged with DUI.

A higher BAC will increase the possible penalties, and if you are involved in a DUI accident, the penalties are even higher if you are convicted. As an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney, Steven Kellis understands how BAC testing is done and will determine whether the testing was properly done and if the results are correct.

Pennsylvania Law Regarding Breath Tests

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. 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 breath test, you’ll have to pay $1,000; if it’s your third time, you’ll pay $2,000.

Taking a Breath or Blood Test

The breath test is typically administered using a Breathalyzer machine. You may also be asked to submit to a blood test. The result will show the BAC in your bloodstream at the time of the test, which can be misleading because your BAC can fluctuate for several hours or more after you consume alcohol.

Breath Test Refusal: How a DUI Lawyer Can Help

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. Consult with a lawyer that specializes in Pennsylvania DUI cases – contact the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis online or call (215) 940-1200 for a free consultation today.