Can I refuse a breathalyzer if pulled over?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2019 | Firm News

After leaving the bar in Pennsylvania, you are pulled over. The officer has you step out of the car and requests you take a breathalyzer after suspecting you have had a few drinks. While you can refuse to take the breathalyzer, it may not be in your best interests to do so. 

In 2018, Senate Bill 553 passed to go into effect after the new year. The bill addresses and alters the Commonwealth’s DUI lawsIf you are arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol, the officer who arrests you has to inform you of your rights. Not only that, but they must also let you know that if you fail to submit to chemical testing you could face a civil penalty.  

The civil penalty is $500 for a first-time offense then doubles again with the second and again with the third offense. All subsequent refusals to submit to the chemical testing could cost you $2000 each time. To reinstate your suspended license, you may also have to pay a $2000 restoration fee in addition to the civil penalty. You must pay these fees before legally operating a motor vehicle again. 

Law enforcement can obtain a chemical test on you as part of a court order or search warrant without limitation. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation handles the surrender of your license. If arrested for driving under the influence, you may benefit from doing a non-required accelerated rehabilitative disposition program. 

This information is only to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.