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Pennsylvania Criminal Defense

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Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

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Law Offices of

Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. LLC

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense

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Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

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  4.  » Understanding implied consent in Pennsylvania

When you are driving, you must follow the rules and regulations of the road. Signs, stop lights, and road etiquette are readily understood by many, but driving under the influence removes that understanding. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only a danger to you, but to everyone on the road around you. 

If you are driving in Pennsylvania, it’s important to understand what implied consent is, especially if an officer pulls you over. 

What does implied consent mean?

If you drive, operate, or control a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania, you give your consent to undergo blood and breath tests for the presence of alcohol or drugs. The officer must have a reason to believe that you drove the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Are preliminary breath tests included in implied consent?

If an officer suspects you are under the influence of alcohol, they might ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests and take a preliminary breath test. The standardized field sobriety tests include horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one-legged stand. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized the tests, the officer may also ask you to perform other non-standardized tests. 

The preliminary breath test and the standardized field sobriety tests do not fall under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law. You have the right to refuse them. The officer may still place you under arrest for a DUI based on their observations of your speech, appearance, or speech. You cannot refuse the breath test at the police station with civil penalties after your arrest. 

Penalties for refusing a test

If an officer asks you to submit a chemical test and you refuse, the testing will not proceed. It is not criminal to refuse a test, but there are civil penalties. Civil penalties include the following: 

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device 
  • Suspension of driver’s license for 12 months or 18 months with previous DUI, refusal, or related offense 
  • $500 restoration fee for first offense, $1,000 for a second, and $1,500 for a third. 

Driving with caution and ensuring that you don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol are ways you can protect your driving privilege.