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The impact of refusing a breathalyzer test in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | DUI Defense

If you’re pulled over for suspected driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, the officer in charge may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. While you can refuse, it’s important to understand that there are grave implications if you opt out of testing.

Pennsylvania’s implied consent law means that by driving on Pennsylvania roads, you agree to submit to chemical testing if lawfully requested. There are legal consequences if you refuse to take part.

The legal consequences of refusing

Per Pennsylvania’s law, refusing a breathalyzer test can lead to penalties, including:

  • Mandatory license suspension: Refusing a test automatically leads to a 12-month driver’s license suspension for a first offense. This instead becomes 18 months if the driver’s operating privileges were previously suspended or a court convicted them of DUI. This suspension is separate from any other DUI penalties the driver may incur.
  • Added penalties: If a driver violates state DUI laws and refuses testing (whether for breath or blood testing), they commit a misdemeanor offense separate from the DUI offense. This offense is punishable by up to six months of imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.
  • Admissibility in court: While not a direct penalty, refusing a breathalyzer test can affect the court hearing over your DUI charge. Prosecutors can use the refusal against you in court, potentially influencing the outcome of your case.

Refusal of a breathalyzer test in Pennsylvania carries serious repercussions that can compound the challenges you face when charged with DUI. It is important to make an informed decision and to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to navigate the complexities of your situation.



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