Refusing DUI Testing in Pittsburgh | We Defend DUI & Refusual Charges

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One of the most frightening parts of a DUI stop is being tested to evaluate whether you are driving under the influence. In Pennsylvania you do have the right to refuse to take a blood, breath, urine or field sobriety test. But there are penalties if you do so. At any point in this process, it is beneficial to hire a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer to defend your rights.

Refusing to Take a Field Sobriety Test

After they stop you, the police may ask you to take a field sobriety test. This is a test of your mental and physical capabilities, including how well you can follow directions, to determine if you are intoxicated.

You may be asked to perform tasks such as:

  • Walking nine steps heel-to-toe and then turning around and walking nine steps back
  • Standing on one leg
  • Following an object, like a pen, with your eyes

Police will use the results of your performance in a field sobriety test to help establish that they had reasonable grounds to take the next step and make you take a chemical test.

You have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test, and doing so may be helpful in situations where you refused chemical testing as well. There are no additional penalties for refusing field sobriety testing. While your refusal may further convince the officer who pulled you over that you are driving drunk, denying the officer further evidence of intoxication may work in your favor at trial.

If you are over the legal limit and you do take the test, you risk giving the police solid evidence that you are under the influence.

Refusing To Take A Blood, Breath, or Urine Test

Police in Pennsylvania do not have the right to make you take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC unless they have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while intoxicated. Typically, if Pittsburgh police pull you over and decide they have probable cause to charge you with DUI, after your field sobriety test they will drive you directly to a hospital to have your blood tested.

Penalties for Refusal of Chemical Testing

If you indicate that you intend to refuse chemical testing, you will be provided with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Form DL-26, which provides warnings regarding the consequences of refusing a chemical test.

If you continue to refuse testing after being provided with these warnings, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year and up to 18 months in certain circumstances. Your refusal to submit to chemical testing can also be admitted as evidence against you in trial.

However, the harshest penalties come if you are eventually convicted or plead guilty to DUI after refusing chemical testing. Under Pennsylvania law, the refusal of chemical testing makes you subject to the more severe criminal penalties set for the highest levels of blood alcohol concentration, regardless of your actual blood alcohol level at the time you were driving. Those penalties include a minimum of 72 hours in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000.

Implied Consent Laws in Pennsylvania

The law in the State of Pennsylvania on chemical testing is based on the concept of “implied consent.” Implied consent means that anyone in the State of Pennsylvania who operates or is in physical control of a vehicle in the state is deemed to have given consent to chemical testing if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Law enforcement does not have to obtain a warrant to conduct the chemical test.

However, a decision issued by the United States Supreme Court has established that conducting a chemical blood test without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. While the law in Pennsylvania has not changed as a result of this ruling, it is likely that the enhanced criminal penalties for refusal to submit to a warrantless chemical blood test would now be considered unconstitutional. Regardless, the Supreme Court decision does not affect the imposition of driver’s license suspensions for refusing a chemical blood test.

Let Our Experienced Pittsburgh DUI Attorneys Help

A conviction for driving under the influence, or even a suspension of your driver’s license for refusing to take a chemical test, can cause damaging long-term impacts in both your personal and professional life. With the state of Pennsylvania’s implied consent law in flux because of decisions made by the United States Supreme Court, it is more important than ever to have a skilled and experienced DUI attorney defending you in Allegheny County.

Learn how our Pittsburgh DUI lawyers can provide the knowledgeable defense that you need. Call (412) 281-2146 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Pittsburgh DUI attorney today.