FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-01-17
It is important to know your rights if you are pulled over for a DUI. If an officer suspects you for driving under the influence, he or she can ask you take a blood, breath or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content. But you do have the option to refuse. You may wonder what happens if you refuse to take these tests.
Testing and arrest
An officer can ask you to take the test to determine your blood alcohol content if he or she has probable cause to think you are driving under the influence. Then, the test must be taken within 2 hours of when you were driving.
The officer will decide which form of the test you need to take. This test is either of your blood, breath or urine. The blood test can be refused without any penalty to you. But then, the officer can choose one of the other two tests for you to take.
Breath tests are usually done with a breathalyzer or a newer machine called a datamaster. Blood tests are believed to be the most accurate in determining blood alcohol content, while urine tests are usually the least accurate. But whatever form you choose will be the final word on your blood alcohol content.
The officer must also inform you of your constitutional rights and must let you know that you can contact an attorney prior to your test. He or she must also explain that your license will be suspended if you do not take the test and that your refusal can be used against you in a court of law.
Consequences of refusing to the test
If you refused to take the test, the officer arresting you will take away your license. You immediately lose your right to drive. Within three business days of the arrest, the officer will need to complete a sworn report of the incident.
In the report, the officer needs to explain the arrest and that he or she had grounds to think you were driving under the influence. The officer will also include in the report that you refused the test and cite a witness who can confirm this refusal.
At your request, your side of the story, as well as the officer’s, can be reviewed at a hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles. You will then have a chance to explain the circumstances of your arrest.
Is it smart to refuse a DUI test?
If you do not ask for a hearing or if the officer’s story is upheld in court, you can face additional penalties. Consequences are generally worse for Connecticut drivers who refused a DUI test, than those who take the test.
Additionally, in the absence of a blood alcohol count, the prosecution may use the fact that you refused a test against you. They may claim that you refused because you knew you were driving under the influence.
Have you refused a DUI test? Are you struggling with a DUI arrest? An experienced attorney can help. In such complex and important matters, it is a great help to have an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf.