What Happens if You Get Pulled Over for a DUI?
Being pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) can be a scary experience. In all 50 U.S. states, a police officer needs probable cause (reasonable grounds) to pull you over.
If you're pulled over for a potential DUI or another driving offense and the officer suspects that you are impaired, the officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Additionally, you may subsequently be required to undergo a blood test because the breathalyzer only indicates blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and not the presence of drugs in your system.
Implied Consent Explained
When you got your driver's license, you agreed to submit to chemical testing of your blood or breath at the request of law enforcement if you are arrested for DUI. This agreement is commonly referred to as “Implied Consent.”
Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test after you’ve already been arrested on suspicion of DUI can result in harsher penalties than a DUI conviction alone. Furthermore, refusing to take the test will not assure you are safe from arrest if the officer believes you have been driving while inebriated.
Is Implied Consent Unconstitutional?
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling on whether implied consent laws violate the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. The court ruled that the implied consent law, which makes a refusal to submit to a breath or blood test illegal, is not unconstitutional as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. If one cannot submit to either a breath or blood test, the driver must submit to the other test, the court ruled.
How Does a PAS Device Work?
A preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device detects trace amounts of ethanol on your breath. Individuals suspected of driving under the influence will be asked by the officer to take a deep breath and blow into the tube on the PAS. The device needs sufficient breath in order to produce an estimate of your BAC based on the ethanol it detected.
Are There Defenses Available for a DUI Test Refusal?
There is one common defense that attorneys can raise if their client is charged with a DUI test refusal. This is to show that the arrest was not “lawful.” An example is if the arresting officer did not have probable cause for a DUI stop or arrest.
If the arrest was deemed not to be lawful, then a motorist never gave implied consent to a breath test. This defense can work to dismiss a DUI case.
- Can I Drive After Drinking 1 Beer?
- How are Bail Amounts Determined in DUI Cases?
- What Does BAC Stand For?
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