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What will happen if you refuse a breath test in Pennsylvania?

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country place a strong emphasis on curtailing drunk driving. It is no different in Pennsylvania. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol is making a dangerous choice, both from the perspective of a potential arrest and from the perspective of causing a serious car accident. No one condones drunk driving.

But, the fact is that driving while intoxicated is one of the most common criminal charges in most jurisdictions. The penalties for a drunk driving conviction can be severe, from probation to home detention, all the way to potential jail time. And, on top of that, those who are convicted of drunk driving can be required to attend substance abuse counseling or other programs where the intent is to change the way a person thinks about alcohol use. 

What will happen if a driver refuses to submit to a breath test in Pennsylvania? Well, according to state law, anyone who operates a vehicle and is arrested is deemed to have already consented to the requirement to submit to a breath or blood test. This is what is known as "implied consent." In essence, any driver arrested for DUI is required to submit to a breath test if requested. Refusal to do so can have serious consequences.

If a driver refuses to submit to a breath test, that person's driver's license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. And, the suspension can be even longer under certain circumstances. This makes it even more important that you contact an attorney as quickly as possible. The sooner a strong defense challenging every aspect of the charge is formulated, the better it is for the accused.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Statutes Title 75 Pa.C.S.A. Vehicles § 1547. Chemical testing to determine amount of alcohol or controlled substance," Accessed Nov. 12, 2016

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