What Happens if You Refuse a DUI Test in Bucks County, PA?
The team of attorneys at Young Marr & Associates can defend you against charges of DUI or chemical test refusal in Bucks County. Under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 1547, known as Pennsylvania’s “Implied Consent Law,” police officers can charge you with chemical test refusal if you don’t submit to a DUI medical test.
You are typically asked to agree to this test following an arrest. However, the police must comply with multiple legal statutory provisions intended to prevent abusive and unethical DUI arrests. A skilled Doylestown DUI defense attorney can help you fight these charges and get either a reduction or dismissal, or even have the charges dropped. With the potential penalty of a one-year license suspension, the charge of DUI refusal can have a devastating impact on your lifestyle and independence.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI refusal in Bucks County, PA, contact the law offices of Young Marr & Associates, whose dedication to their clients’ criminal defense stands out above the rest. They are relentless advocates with over 20 years of criminal defense experience who will not stand for unscrupulous practices against their clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, visit us online or contact us at (215) 372-8667.
Driving Under the Influence Offenses in Bucks County, PA
A conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3802 can be frightening to many motorists due to the potentially harsh penalties. For example, for anyone who is a repeat DUI offender found to be highly intoxicated in Pennsylvania, the following sentences can be imposed:
First offense: Imprisonment between 72 hours and six months, a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements.
Second offense: Imprisonment between 90 days and five years, a fine of not less than $1,500, attendance at an alcohol highway safety school, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements.
Accordingly, people tend to refuse chemical tests out of fear that they can be found to be highly intoxicated and face a harsher penalty than without confirmation of the intoxication level. Most people don’t realize that this can be a fatal mistake in Pennsylvania where there are criminal charges attached to refusing a DUI test.
Overview of Bucks County DUI Refusal Law
One of the central elements of DUI refusal accusations involves the act of denying the police’s request for the examination. While the conduct surrounding a denial seems straightforward, it’s frequently confusing for people accused of this crime. Your attorney can help you determine whether there are ways to contest your alleged refusal. There are times when a person’s actions can be subject to interpretation. When this happens, your attorney can challenge the validity of the charges.
An individual’s actions defined “as a matter of law,” typically involve a legal definition of conduct defined under the statute. In the case of refusing a medical test, Pennsylvania provides that, as a matter of law, “any response from a licensee that is anything less than an unqualified, unequivocal assent to submit to testing constitutes a refusal.” Todd v. Com. Dep’t of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing (1999)
A qualified attorney can go through the evidence supporting the allegation that you refused the test and determine if there was a direct refusal or one that may have occurred as a matter of law.
Invalid Charges Due to Law Enforcement Incompetence
Law enforcement officials are required to follow certain procedures. If these are ignored or improper, a DUI refusal accusation can fall through.
The arresting police officer must provide what is known as “adequate warning.” Every time someone is charged with a DUI refusal, the arresting officer is required to read to the defendant was is known as DL-26B and sign it. Dismissal of charges can be requested if this DL-26B is not signed or done correctly.
Unreasonable Grounds for Arrest
Section 1547 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code requires that the arresting police officer must have “reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving, operating, or in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle.”
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your arrest may be invalid. The police officer cannot ignore your rights if your actions don’t meet the required legal standard. For example, there are instances when the arrest of someone asleep in a vehicle was found invalid, on the basis that someone asleep is not “exercising control over the movement of the car,” as required under the statute. Factors considered include:
- If the car is running
- The location of the vehicle
- If there is evidence that the motorist drove the car shortly before the police’s arrival
- Objective proof that the intoxicated driver had physical control of the vehicle
Unqualified Blood Technician
In Pennsylvania, the defendant’s blood must be drawn by a qualified technician. A record qualifying the technician must be available.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision of Birchfield v. North Dakota (2016) provides some restrictions to the actions of law enforcement officials in asking for the DUI test. Officials cannot force or threaten individuals into agreeing to a DUI test. Consent in Pennsylvania must be voluntary, as opposed to based on pain or fear of criminal charges. Your attorney can look at your particular circumstances and help you determine if the official’s actions were appropriate.
Call Your Trusted Bucks County DUI Refusal Attorney
The accomplished attorneys of Young Marr & Associates have developed a reputation for effective DUI legal representation. Their rate of success is 99 percent for first-time offenders. They are also known for offering high-quality legal representation for repeat offenders in need of aggressive legal advocacy. To talk to one of our attorneys, contact us at (215) 372-8667 today. We offer free and confidential initial consultations.