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Refusing Field Tests in Pennsylvania DUI Cases

Pennsylvania's implied consent law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath if arrested for driving while intoxicated. It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the arresting officer to provide a warning known as implied consent.

There are two types of refusals. An expressed refusal occurs when police tell you that they will administer a chemical test and you say 'no'. Some drivers, for example, refuse a test because they believe the absence of evidence will make it more difficult to reach a conviction without their blood alcohol content (BAC) level. The other type of refusal is an implied refusal, where you do not clearly articulate 'no', but the arresting officer marks it as a refusal anyway. For example, a driver could be physically unable to perform a breath test and is then not offered a different test.

The penalties for not submitting can be harsh. Refusal to submit to a chemical test after a DUI arrest can lead to at least a twelve (12) month suspension of your driver's license. Sometimes, the suspension may last up to eighteen (18) months. This is why it is important to have a skilled attorney representing you. The attorneys at McCormick and Vilushis will thoroughly review your case to help develop a personalized and aggressive defense strategy.

An appeal or challenge to a chemical test refusal suspension is a civil - not criminal - matter. The burden of proof in a civil case is lower than that in a criminal case. Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is not required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

It may be possible to challenge your chemical test refusal. Once PennDOT's burden has been met, the motorist must prove that his refusal was not knowing or conscious or that he was physically unable to take the test. If you received wrong or incomplete warnings from the officer, it may be a winning defense. That's why knowing all of the circumstances of your refusal is critical when determining the right approach.

While the penalties are harsh, it may be possible to challenge your suspension and keep your license. The attorneys at McCormick and Vilushis are here to help review your case and determine whether it can be challenged. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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McCormick & Vilushis LLC
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Erie, PA 16502

Phone: 814-455-5362
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