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Should you refuse to take a breath test?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2019 | Firm News |

A Pennsylvania police officer pulls you over and asks you to take a breath test. Perhaps you have just come from a party and you are not sure if you are legally intoxicated. Should you consent?

Technically, according to Pennsylvania statute, you already have consented to a chemical test because of the implied consent law. Even so, the officer has to ask you, and you can say no. If you do, the outcome may differ from a DUI arrest, but there are still some stiff consequences.

The officer should inform you that you will face civil penalties. You immediately forfeit your driver’s license for 12 months by refusing a chemical test. If you have lost your driving privileges in the past for DUI or refusing a chemical test, then the suspension will last for 18 months.

To get your license back, you will have to pay a restoration fee that will fall somewhere between $500 and $2,000, depending on whether you have prior suspensions and/or arrests.

With these consequences in mind, you may decide you are better off consenting to a breath test. After all, there are defense strategies that have proven effective for many people when fighting the results of a breath test in court. Consider these facts about Pennsylvania breath tests carefully:

  • Only officers who have completed training may administer the test
  • The Department of Health and Transportation strictly regulates the calibration and testing for accuracy of each device
  • There is a record of when each device has been calibrated and tested

The evidence may be stacked against you if the prosecutor has these documents to prove testing accuracy. On the other hand, if you refuse to undergo testing, the prosecutor can use your refusal as evidence that you may have been intoxicated.

This information is provided to give you an idea of what you may expect from a breath test refusal, but it is general in nature and should not be interpreted as legal advice.