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What happens if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop?

When a Pennsylvania police officer pulls you over, your main concern is probably just getting on with your day as quickly as possible. For the police officer, their priority will be gathering evidence that you committed a crime.

If they think you have had too much to drink, they will probably ask you to perform a chemical breath test after talking with you and conducting a field sobriety test. What do you risk if you refuse to perform a breath test during a Pennsylvania traffic stop?

You may violate the implied consent law

Pennsylvania has rules about chemical testing in place to protect the public from intoxicated drivers. If someone refuses to take a chemical test during a traffic stop, the police officers will note their refusal and likely arrest the person right away.

The driver who does not perform a breath test will face penalties for their refusal that violates the implied consent law in addition to possibly facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Those facing allegations that they have refused a breath test could lose their driver’s licenses for up to 12 months, and those with a prior test refusal on their record could lose their license for 18 months.

A driver who refuses the test doesn’t always avoid DUI charges either, as their prior behavior during the traffic stop could be enough for the state to build a case against them. If you are stopped for suspected DUI, and refuse a chemical test, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your rights and possible outcomes to your legal situation.

Learning more about the different rules that apply to Pennsylvania DUI traffic stops can help you protect yourself the next time you see those red and blue lights in your rearview mirror.

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