If you get arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, you might be wondering what your options are. For example, are you required to take a chemical test? What happens if you refuse testing for your blood alcohol content? Due to the varying state laws about implied consent, this can be a confusing topic for many people.
According to Pennsylvania law, you must consent to a chemical test after your arrest or risk suspension of your driver’s license. Do not confuse this with field sobriety tests, which you have the right to refuse without penalty.
The type of law requiring you to take a chemical test for drunk driving is an implied consent law. Under this law, the police officer must have a reasonable cause for believing you are driving while drunk. Then, the police officer must lawfully arrest you before asking you to take the test. Upon lawful arrest, you are considered to automatically give consent to the test.
Refusing the test
After the police arrest you and ask you to take a chemical test, the officer should inform you of the consequences of refusing the test. Here are the potential penalties:
- First offense: License suspension of one year
- Second offense: License suspension of 18 months
- Third offense: License suspension of 18 months
If you later receive a DUI conviction, however, you may face additional criminal penalties.
What you should do
Refusing to take the test does not guarantee the avoidance of a DUI conviction. For this reason, it usually does not benefit Pennsylvania drivers to refuse to take a test after an arrest. Regardless of whether you refuse or not, you should speak to an attorney about your case. If you refuse the test, you have the right to challenge your license suspension. If you take the test, you might have the ability to reduce or drop charges.