When a person refuses to submit to chemical testing in a DUI investigation in a first offense situation, that person would face a mandatory one-year revocation of their driving privileges due to the refusal alone. Furthermore, there could be other consequences in the person’s DUI case, especially for refusing DUI testing multiple times. If you are experiencing issues with refusal, a qualified DUI lawyer can help you.
Refusing to submit to a breath test does not necessarily prevent a prosecutor from being able to charge a person with driving under the influence. Prosecutors do not need a chemical test to prosecute driving under the influence cases. Those cases can be prosecuted based other evidence such as a person’s demeanor, the smell of alcohol on their breath, the results of field sobriety testing, the manner in which the defendant was driving and any number of other factors that can be used besides the results of chemical testing.
In a person’s DUI prosecution, a prosecutor can make the argument that the refusal to submit to chemical testing is evidence of the defendant’s guilt, meaning the defendant knew that they were intoxicated at the time that they were driving and consciously decided to not submit to chemical testing because they knew the results would be unhelpful to them. Prosecutors have the ability to make this argument and defense attorneys have the ability to rebut that argument as pure speculation.
There are a number of reasons why people choose to submit or not submit to chemical testing and that decision is not necessarily evidence of anything. However, one common consequence in a first offense DUI when a suspect declines to submit to chemical testing is that the person may not, at that point, be eligible for certain more favorable negotiated resolutions that can result in a positive outcome in their DUI case.
As an example, if a person has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and submits a breath test and the breath test comes out as, say, a 0.10, a 0.10 is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 but it is still a relatively low blood alcohol content. In that situation, if a person has an otherwise clean driving history, no prior record of DUI arrests and their DUI case does not have certain aggravating factors such as a serious car accident that resulted in people being injured, then that person may be eligible for a more favorable resolution in their case that can be negotiated between their defense attorney and the prosecutors. Those favorable agreements could result in the complete dismissal of their charges.
However, refusing to submit to that sample could result in that person being deemed by the prosecutors as ineligible for those kinds of favorable agreements. It is always difficult to say at the time of a person’s arrest whether it is a good idea or a bad idea to submit to that kind of chemical testing but a person should be aware that refusing to submit to chemical testing can have certain consequences as far as plea negotiations could go and submitting to chemical testing could also have consequences with regards to more severe penalties, including possible mandatory jail time for very high blood, or urine, or breath alcohol content.
In a second or multiple DUI charge, a person who refuses to submit to chemical testing is in the same situation as a person in a first offense situation, prosecutors can use evidence of that refusal to create an inference in the minds of the judge or a jury that the reason why the person refused to give that sample is because they knew that they were intoxicated and did not want to incriminate themselves.
For refusing DUI testing multiple times, prosecutors used to make the argument that the law presumes that a person is intoxicated if that person refused to give a sample of breath, blood or urine for chemical testing on a second or subsequent DUI case. That argument was challenged by defense attorneys who successfully made the argument that no person can ever be presumed guilty in any criminal case no matter what the facts show and that presuming a person guilty simply because they refused to submit to chemical testing is unconstitutional.
It shifts the burden of proving a person guilty from the prosecutor to a defendant to prove themselves innocent, and doing so would be unconstitutional. However, prosecutors still make the argument that on a multiple DUI, a person who refuses to submit to chemical testing can be inferred to have done so because they were aware of their own guilt. Nonetheless, in spite of those arguments, defense attorneys can still challenge them and argue that there could be any number of reasons why a person might decline to submit to chemical testing, including lack of credibility or reliability in breath testing, religious reasons related to why a person declined to submit to testing, medical reasons, all of which do not involve the defendant’s consciousness of their guilt. Should a person have more inquiries about refusing DUI testing multiple times, they should refer them to a skilled attorney today.
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