You were pulled over by the police for either a routine traffic stop or because the police officer suspected you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. The police officer probably asked if you had been drinking or used any drugs – including prescription medication – prior to driving. After speaking with the officer, he or she had you get out of your car and perform field sobriety tests. At the conclusion of the field sobriety tests, the officer placed you under arrest for suspicion of DUI and asked you to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. Should you comply?
The short answer is probably yes. Every person in Pennsylvania gives his or her implied consent to chemical testing (i.e. a breathalyzer or blood test) where the police have probable cause to believe that the person is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. While a United States Supreme Court decision removed some of the enhanced criminal penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing, your license will be suspended for at least one year if you refuse the breathalyzer or blood test. Those penalties are higher if you have a prior DUI conviction. Those driving license suspensions are on top of any license suspensions that may accompany a DUI conviction. Most people cannot afford to go years without being able to drive for work or to take their children to and from school or activities. That is why the short answer is probably yes.
However, every DUI is different. Some cases involve the presence of medication prescribed by a doctor that is within the therapeutic range – meaning you took it as prescribed. Sometimes alcohol test results are within the margin of error, meaning that while the test puts you over the legal limit, you may have been within the legal limit. But most DUI cases rise and fall on whether the police officer legally stopped you. These different variables show why you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to evaluate your case and plot the best strategy for your case.
What if I Was Already Arrested and Refused a Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
You need to contact an attorney immediately. Moving quickly is essential in putting you in the best possible position. Our attorneys have defended and prosecuted thousands of DUI cases over the years. We have seen most scenarios, but we recognize that each case is unique and focus on your individual circumstances. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation. I can be reached at 215-822-7575. Ask for Matthew Quigg.