It is important to know what your rights are during a traffic stop. While you do have certain rights that protect you, you may not always be able to refuse an officer’s request.
If a law enforcement officer has grounds to believe that you’ve been driving under the influence, the law requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test per their request.
The reason that you cannot refuse a breathalyzer or other chemical test, is because of implied consent. In Pennsylvania, driving is a privilege. By driving on Pennsylvanian roads, you implicitly agree to chemical tests to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Penalties of refusing
According to state law, officers cannot administer a chemical test for people who refuse to take one. However, refusing a test will not guarantee that you will avoid a DUI conviction. Furthermore, on top of the penalties for a DUI, there are additional penalties for refusing a test:
- First-time refusal: One-year license suspension and $500 license reinstatement fee
- Second-time refusal: 18-month license suspension and $1,000 license reinstatement fee
- Third-time refusal: 18-month license suspension and $1,000 license reinstatement fee
Because of the additional penalties, it is generally not a good idea to refuse a chemical test.
What to do if you’re arrested for driving under the influence
Though it may not be wise to refuse a chemical test, you do not need to respond to interrogation. If you are arrested for a DUI, do your best to avoid verbally incriminating yourself and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.