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Pennsylvania DUI Laws and Refusal

Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Posted: Thu. Jul 20
Like all 52 states, Pennsylvania is an “Implied Consent” law state. That means that in exchange for the privilege of driving in the Commonwealth, drivers agree to be subjected to chemical testing for the purpose of determining whether and how much alcohol or drugs are in their blood any time they are suspected of operating a vehicle while impaired.

Because the “implication” is that drivers consent, if you are stopped by police who have probable cause that you were driving under the influence, you will be heavily penalized if you refuse to submit to chemical testing upon request. Chemical Tests refer to a blood, urine or breath test administered at the station or medical facility. “Breath test” for the purpose of chemical testing does not refer to the small, hand-held breath testing device used in the field.

Most people will submit to these tests when police tell them to do so. However, when a driver knows she/he is still intoxicated, the strategy to “refuse” may surface because the blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis will likely result in damaging evidence and a conviction for DUI. While the law does not force or mandate the tests upon people, it does enhance criminal charges and increase penalties upon conviction for refusing.

Every DUI is unique, but refusing a BAC chemical test is rarely ever in someone’s best interests. If you do refuse a BAC test, you can pay heavily for it.

What most drivers do not realize, however, is that by the time a chemical BAC test is requested, the right to refusal has already lost much of its best powers. That is because under PA law, every driver has the right to refuse all Field Sobriety Testing, without consequence. This includes the right to refuse without consequence to take the breath test at the roadside.

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