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Can you be arrested if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test?

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2023 | DUI |

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense with far-reaching legal and personal consequences.

If the police are reasonably suspicious that you are tipsy behind the wheel, they will pull you over for further investigation. This may involve searching your vehicle for alcohol, physical observation and administration of field sobriety tests. It may also involve the administration of a chemical test, also known as the breathalyzer test. But what if you refuse to take this test? Can you still be arrested and charged with DUI?

The implied consent law

When you sign up for a driver’s license, you automatically agree to comply with the rules and regulations that come with that license. One of these rules requires you to yield to a chemical test if the police suspect that you are driving while drunk. This is known as the “implied consent” law.

So, what happens if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Pennsylvania?

You risk opening the door to a range of unpleasant consequences if you refuse to take the chemical test. Some of these consequences may be invoked on the spot. For instance, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. And if you have prior refusal on your record, this suspension will last for 18 months.

You could still get a DUI anyway, even if you did not take the test. The police have other ways of proving that you were indeed drunk at the time of the arrest. They can testify to your erratic driving pattern, the smell of alcohol on your breath or slurred speech during your trial.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are charged with drunk driving, you need to explore your defense options.