DC DUI Breathalyzer Test Process

Following a DUI stop, law enforcement may ask you to submit to a breath test. Many people do not realize that they have the right to refuse testing if they do not want to. However, refusing breath tests could have negative effects on a person’s case. If you want to know more about the DC DUI breathalyzer test process, speak with a capable DUI attorney that could answer your questions.

Are Breathalyzer Tests Necessary?

There is no hard and fast rule about whether a person should or should not take a breathalyzer test when they are accused of driving under the influence. Many people are under the assumption that they should never give a breath test and it is always a good idea to refuse.

However, when deciding whether or not to start the DC DUI breathalyzer test process, a person should consider that there are consequences for agreeing to a breath test and also consequences for refusing. With this knowledge in mind, an individual can make up their own mind when deciding whether they would consent or refuse to give a breath test.

What Happens if a Person’s BAC is Too High?

The most important consequence that a person should be aware of when deciding whether to consent or refuse to give a breath test is that when a person’s blood alcohol content is a .20 percent or higher, they face a mandatory minimum amount of jail time to be imposed by a judge if they are convicted of a DUI. That is also true for a first-time offense.

A .20 percent is fairly high, but different people consuming different amounts of alcohol could potentially have a blood alcohol content of .20. However, it is important for a person to be aware that with a high blood alcohol content like .20, a person faces mandatory jail time even on the first offense.

Consequences for Refusing Breath Tests

As mentioned before, there are consequences for refusing to participate in the DC DUI breathalyzer test process. The most important consequence to know about is the automatic revocation of a person’s driving privileges. An individual could lose their license for up to a year, for refusing to give a breath test.

The other important consequence someone should be aware of when they refuse to give a breath test is that there may be certain favorable negotiated agreements that a person might be eligible for but, by refusing, they may have made themselves ineligible for those favorable agreements.

Ineligibility for Favorable Agreements

As mentioned above, there are certain favorable agreements that a person could lose access to as a result of opting out of the DC DUI breathalyzer test process. For example, some people who have relatively low blood alcohol content levels usually around a .08 or .10 percent may be eligible for deferred sentencing in their case. In exchange for completing alcohol classes, community service, and a few other requirements, they may be allowed to have their charges completely dismissed so they can keep a clean record. The official policy of the Attorney General’s Office is that when a person refuses to give a breath sample, they are ineligible for deferred sentencing.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for most people to know exactly what their blood alcohol content is going to be. Deferred sentencing is typically available for people who have relatively low blood alcohol contents. However, a person may be eligible for mandatory jail time if they have very high blood alcohol contents. A person should be aware of all of these things to make a proper decision as to whether it is a good idea for them to consent or refuse to give a breath test.

Important Aspects of the Breathalyzer Process

The most important thing for a person to know about the DC DUI breathalyzer test process of taking a breathalyzer test in DC is that the actual breathalyzer test used in a person’s DUI case is not given to someone until they are arrested.

The result of that breathalyzer test does not necessarily result in a person being released from jail or not being charged. By the time someone gives a breathalyzer test, they have already been arrested. That means they most likely have a criminal charge, no matter the result.

There is no hard and fast rule as to whether it is a good idea to give a breath test or whether it is a good idea to refuse to give a breath test. Each situation is different, and a person should know the possible penalties for each option to be able to decide what is best for their situation. A qualified DUI attorney could educate a person on what the potential outcomes could be, and which course of action may be best for them.