Should You “Blow” During a DUI Stop?
This is only regarding the chemical testing required by law, and not the P.A.S. (Preliminary Alcohol Screening test usually done at the scene)
One of the most common questions that clients ask about DUI stops is whether or not they should take a breathalyzer test if asked to do so by a police off
DUI Regulations and Laws NationwideDUI laws and regulations across the country are state-specific. If you take a breathalyzer test and the reading determines that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher, you will be arrested and you can be found guilty and/or convicted of DUI.
Blowing into a Breathalyzer MachineIf you decide to blow into a breathalyzer machine, there are various pros and cons. On the one hand, if you do not believe that you are intoxicated, blow into the machine, and obtain a reading which is far below the 0.08 percent threshold, then you have a chance of avoiding an arrest or the dismissal of your case in the future. Alternatively, the prosecutor may reduce your charge down to a less-serious offense, such as reckless driving.
However, if you blow into the machine and the reading comes back at 0.08 percent or higher, then the prosecutor can use this reading as evidence that you were operating your vehicle while intoxicated. The prosecutor is less likely to negotiate a reduction of the charge the higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
Deciding not to BlowRefusing to provide a chemical sample also has very serious consequences. In California, it is implied that all licensed driver consents to a breath test to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC) upon being arrested for a DUI. Therefore, refusing to provide a sample will result in a
one-year license suspension from the DMV. There are no restricted licenses available if you are suspended as a result of a refusal. For many people, this is the harshest penalty since you will have to find transportation via other means.
Logically, if there is no chemical test sample, then the prosecutor*s case to prove your BAC become more difficult. Be aware, however, prosecutors will use a breathalyzer refusal as evidence of your guilt.
Constitutional RightsIn the DUI context, you have certain rights which come into play. One such right is the constitutional right not to incriminate yourself. If you feel that you are intoxicated and you are asked to submit to a breathalyzer or other field sobriety test, you can refuse to take the test though in my opinion, you should not do so due to the harsh suspension.
A refusal will prevent the prosecutor from obtaining a crucial piece of evidence against you. Consequently, a DUI defense lawyer may have a better chance of formulating a good legal defense on your behalf, as there will be less objective evidence indicating that you were intoxicated. Do not forget that if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test while at the police station, you will incur an administrative driver*s license suspension for a period of 12 months and you will not be eligible for a restricted license.