Officers are never required to inform a person that they can refuse consent to any type of search, be it a search of your house or a search of your blood for alcohol concentration. Police are only required to provide you with various warnings with regard what happens IF you refuse the blood test, primarily that you are facing the highest range of penalties, that you are facing a one year administrative suspension, and that you do not have the right to consult with an attorney prior to making the decision about whether to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test. Regrettably, while the law states that the police are required to provide you with the warnings, the Pennsylvania courts have stated that a failure to provide warnings does not matter if the person submits to a blood test. The failure to provide warnings is only a defense IF the person refuses the blood test. In such a situation, the person can challenge the one year administrative suspension and can challenge the increase in penalties for the refusal, but the person can still be charged with a DUI and receive the lowest level of penalties if convicted. A failure to issue warnings does not result in a complete dismissal of the charges even if the person refuses.
Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
D & H Law Group, P.C.
State College, PA 16801
I agree with Mr. Dunkle. I do not agree with Mr. Sullivan in the right to refuse. Most searches you can refuse, however, not in relation to DUIs. A refusal treats a person as being in the highest tier. They only need to read something to you before a refusal.
Michael L. Doyle