DUI Chemical Testing
It’s very scary when you’re pulled over by law enforcement. If you’ve been drinking, even a little, you may be concerned about taking the breathalyzer test or a blood test. The laws that determine whether you have to take a chemical test are complex. In some states, a warrant may be required to get a blood test. Although every state has different laws that outline specific details about chemical testing for DUIs, here are some general guidelines.
What Is Implied Consent?
Most states have what is called “implied consent” laws. These laws require motorists who are detained or arrested on suspicion of DUI to submit to blood alcohol concentration testing, whether it is a breathalyzer or blood test. Just by driving with your state license, you consent to testing. You may have a choice of blood or breath testing, but you must comply or you will lose your license.
Implied consent laws are not always criminal charges. In many states, the license suspension is handled administratively, rather than criminally. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Motor Vehicles, rather than the court system. Refusing to take the test means that your license is suspended. Even more importantly, you can’t get it back if you aren’t convicted. The processes are completely separate. Some states even make refusing to take the chemical test a crime.
Should You Refuse Chemical Testing?
Of course, you can refuse a chemical test. The question is, should you? Because your license is automatically suspended in most cases when you refuse the test, it’s sometimes better to take the test and let your lawyer fight the charges in court. Losing your license is harder to fight against the Department of Motor Vehicles. Getting your license back after a suspension is much more difficult and expensive than you might realize. The DMV has more discretion to prevent you from receiving your license.
Talk to a Lawyer
The Supreme Court has weighed in on some cases that involve chemical testing and DUIs, making the situation even more complex. In general, officers do not need a warrant to take a breath test. For blood tests, generally a warrant is required, but there are exceptions. If you are charged with a DUI/DWI, you need a lawyer to protect your rights. Talk to a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, to help you understand the best steps to take for your situation. Don’t wait too long, because license suspension hearings are often held in just a few days following the arrest.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into whether or not you can refuse a breath or blood test when arrested for a DUI.