In order to gauge levels of intoxication in suspected Bucks County DUI cases, an array of tests and mechanisms are used by the government including breathalyzers and blood tests. While it may seem like a good idea to refuse, doing so can have very negative effects on the DUI case, and is therefore generally a very unwise course of action. With this in mind, it is important those accused of DUI understand the risks associated with refusing these tests and consult with an attorney as soon as possible to being building a defense.
For alcohol related stops, a Breathalyzer is often the choice of the police to determining whether an individual is over the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content. However, a Breathalyzer machine must be calibrated properly, maintained properly, and examined properly for the results to be scientifically accepted in a court of law in Pennsylvania. If any part of that process failed, those results are not scientifically accepted and it may lead to an acquittal or a mitigated sentence as a result.
In addition to breathalyzers, some individuals may instead be subjected to blood draws which are performed by a registered nurse, either in specific police headquarters or specific hospitals. In Bucks County typically, a person will be brought to the nearest hospital or blood draw location where their blood is drawn by needle, marked as evidence, and sent to a certified lab for testing.
Regarding this type of testing, a chain of custody must be supplied by the arresting officers and the blood must be properly registered, marked, and then sent on with an ID number matching the defendant or the person charged with driving under the influence. This is the only way to assure accuracy and that the blood is actually drawn from a specific person. Once the lab receives the blood with the markings, the lab makes an independent determination of all the substances and the amount of such substances in a person’s system that may affect driving.
A summary report is then provided and a conclusion is made based upon the laws of Pennsylvania as to whether or not a person was able to safely operate a motor vehicle on the roads of Bucks County.
An individual who refuses any type of test for DUI in Bucks County is subjected to two very important negative consequences in their case. The first thing is an additional one year license suspension which starts immediately at the time the refusal paperwork is sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. That suspension is in addition to anything else that an individual faces after a conviction for driving under the influence.
The second issue is the assumption upon a refusal that the court is allowed to make. A court of law, as in a judge or jury, is instructed that if a person fails to submit to a blood draw, Breathalyzer test, or urine test in Pennsylvania, that individual is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is presumed to be driving under the influence. This presumption must be overcome by the defense, switching the burden of proof from the Commonwealth to the defense. For these reasons, most attorneys will recommend that a driver submit to the breath or blood test.