When you drive on the Pennsylvania roads, you give your implied consent for a blood or breath test to determine your sobriety during a traffic stop. Refusal to take a breath test when an officer suspects you of driving under the influence carries enhanced penalties in addition to other charges.

Know the penalties for violating implied consent so you have the necessary information if an officer stops you for a potential DUI charge.

License suspension

You will automatically receive a one-year license suspension if you refuse a breath test, which increases to 18 months if you have a prior DUI, prior breath test refusal or another prior alcohol conviction. If you also receive a DUI suspension, the two sentences run consecutively instead of at the same time.

Reinstatement requirements and fees

You cannot apply for license reinstatement after a breath test refusal until you outfit your vehicle with an approved ignition interlock device at your own cost. In some cases, you may become eligible for an IID reinstatement after six months. The reinstatement fee is $500 for a first refusal offense and doubles for each subsequent offense.

Influence on DUI sentence

Although you will not receive criminal charges for refusing a breath test, the refusal could impact a received DUI sentence. For example, the judge may impose larger fines, longer license suspension and even jail time. In addition, the judge or jury in your case can take your refusal as evidence of your guilt, which may result in a conviction that you would not have otherwise received.

In addition to these negative consequences, refusal to take a breath test does not mean the officer will not test you. He or she can apply for a warrant to administer a blood test, which can also become evidence in your case.

DUI penalties vary dramatically in Pennsylvania based on the circumstances of your case. Avoiding complications by consenting to a breath test may be in your best interest.