Implied Consent & The Breath Test
Pennsylvania Implied Consent Law
Pennsylvania Driver Breath or Blood Test requirements
If you are pulled over by an officer and asked to take a breath test, the officer is actually looking for probable cause to see if you are driving under the influence. In Pennsylvania, the Implied Consent law requires you to submit to the breath test, or even a urine test or blood test if the officer decides to make you take one.
Here is the relevant law in Pennsylvania:
§ 1547. Chemical testing to determine amount of alcohol or controlled substance.
(a) General rule. --Any person who drives, operates or is in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle in this Commonwealth shall be deemed to have given consent to one or more chemical tests of breath, blood or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of blood or the presence of a controlled substance if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving, operating or in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle:
(1) while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or both; or
(2) which was involved in an accident in which the operator or passenger of any vehicle involved or a pedestrian required treatment at a medical facility or was killed.
So the first part of the law, section (a), states the assumption that you consent to chemical tests if you use a motor vehicle anywhere in the state. Part (b) of the law goes on to discuss the consequences of refusing such a test:
(b) Suspension for refusal.--
(1) If any person placed under arrest for a violation of section 3731 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) is requested to submit to chemical testing and refuses to do so, the testing shall not be conducted but upon notice by the police officer, the department shall suspend the operating privilege of the person for a period of 12 months.
(2) It shall be the duty of the police officer to inform the person that the person's operating privilege will be suspended upon refusal to submit to chemical testing.
(3) Any person whose operating privilege is suspended under the provisions of this section shall have the same right of appeal as provided for in cases of suspension for other reasons.
Since the law is written this way, Family Lawyer Service always advises clients to submit to the chemical test. If you refuse, and lose your operating privileges for 12 months, that is added on to any time that you lose your license for a DUI conviction. It's best to take the test, then do your fighting in court - don't do it with the arresting officer.