Refusal of Breath, Blood, and Urine Tests in DC DUI Cases

In DC, the predominant chemical test administered after a DC DUI arrest is a breath test, which is done on various brands of breathalyzer machines depending on the police department. There are several police departments that operate in Washington, DC.

Less prevalent is the use of a urine or blood test. A blood test is primarily used when there is a traffic accident in Washington, DC and the person is taken to a hospital. At that point, the driver may be given a blood test.

To learn more about how the refusal to take a breath, blood, or urine test in your DC DUI arrest will impact your case, contact a DUI attorney in Washington DC as soon as possible.

Impact on a License

When a person obtains a driver’s license and drives in Washington, DC, they are subject to the implied consent law. There is an implied consent law in the District of Columbia that says by driving a vehicle, the person agrees to submit to breath, urine, or blood chemical tests when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer.

If the individual refuses to take a chemical test during their DC DUI case, their privilege to drive in DC can be revoked for one year.

Arguing Against Implied Consent

Implied consent is not a question for the courts. The revocation of privileges goes to the Division of Motor Vehicles and has nothing to do with the courts.

Subsequent Refusals

When someone is arrested for a DUI, typically, they are offered one chance to take one of the tests.

Occasionally a person may be unable to provide a urine sample at the time and may be given a second chance to provide one at a later time.

Alcohol Education Programs

There are many reasons to enroll in a traffic alcohol education class. One might be if an individual refused a breath, blood, or urine test during their DC DUI arrest. When someone is charged with a DUI, their lawyer may recommend that the person takes a traffic alcohol class.

The court in DC usually orders a person arrested on a traffic alcohol offense to have a court-ordered alcohol assessment. When someone is ordered to have an assessment, they might as well take advantage of a private traffic alcohol class. It keeps flexibility in the process and is a more viable option than taking the court-ordered assessment.

Justifiable Reasons for Refusing a Chemical Test

There are many situations where refusing a breath, blood, or urine test can be justified from a common sense perspective.

However, it may still result in a suspension of driving privileges. For example, a person has a physical disability that prevents them from taking a breath test.

Refusing a Breath Test

Something like a cleft palate can prevent a person from generating enough breath to take the test accurately. People with a cleft palate have been charged with refusal and it is not considered a justifiable reason to refuse the test.

From a common sense perspective, it is a good reason to refuse; but it is not legally justifiable.

Refusing a Blood Test

An individual might refuse a blood test for a religious reason, but that does not prevent them from getting their license suspended.

The more important issue is how this is used in court. In other words, if someone refuses due to a disability the prosecutor may try to use that refusal to say that the person knew they were under the influence.

In that situation, the fact that the person has a physical disability is not evidence enough that they were driving under the influence or were drunk. However, it still might involve a license suspension down the road in a separate proceeding.