If you are suspected of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, you may be asked to take a blood test. Like a breath test, you are under a legal obligation to have blood drawn. In the event that you refuse to take a blood test, an officer could still compel you to take one by getting a warrant from a judge. What are the possible penalties for failing to consent to a blood draw?
You Could Lose Your License for a First Offense
If you refuse to a chemical test for the first time, you will lose your license for up to a year. It is important to point out that an officer must tell you about the consequences for failing to submit to testing before it is given. It is also important to point out that a judge may allow you to get a restricted license even if it is suspended under implied consent laws.
A Longer Suspension Is Forthcoming for Subsequent Refusals
If you have been convicted of DUI in the past five years, you could face a license suspension of up to 18 months for refusing a chemical test. This is true if you have also refused a test at any point during that five year period. In some cases, your license could be permanently revoked if you have multiple suspensions as well as multiple refusals on your record.
You May Also Face a Fine
In addition to a license suspension, a driver who refuses a chemical test is subject to a $500 fine for a first offense. The fine increases to $750 for a second or third refusal if it occurs within five years of the first refusal. Any fine that you pay may be part of a larger financial penalty as you have to pay for legal counsel as well as some fees to get your car back even if you are found not guilty.
Is It Ever a Good Idea to Refuse Chemical Testing?
Although you could face automatic penalties for refusing a chemical test, it may be a good idea to refuse if you have the option. Assuming that there is no court order compelling you to comply, the authorities have one less piece of evidence to use in any legal action taken against you. Typically, a refusal cannot be taken to mean an admission of guilt, which means that it could be enough to create reasonable doubt if you go to trial.
When Can Police Compel You to Take a Test?
In the event that you have been in an accident that has resulted in bodily injury or property damage, a judge will likely provide police with a warrant to take blood. This will determine whether or not you had alcohol or other substances in your system at the time of a crash. However, an attorney may cast doubt on the results of the test or how the test was conducted at trial.
Where Is the Test Taken?
In some cases, you may have blood drawn at the scene of an accident or traffic stop. Typically, the blood will be drawn at a police station or at a hospital. This is because the tests are generally more accurate than the ones that a portable test can give at the scene. Depending on the results of the test, you may either be charged with DUI or allowed to go free based on all the facts in your case.
Refusing to take a blood test could have serious consequences both on your ability to defend yourself in court and after the case is resolved. Therefore, it is important that you talk to an attorney right away if you have been charged with violating implied consent laws, DUI or any other serious traffic offense.
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