Getting a DUI is no fun. In fact, it is probably one of the least fun things that can ever happen to you. You face losing your driver's license, stiff monetary penalties, jail time, and a mark on your reputation for a very long time. And, to top it off, those investigated and charged with DUI often have no idea how to exercise their rights and make decisions that can give them a much greater chance of beating their DUI. One of the areas people lack a substantial amount of knowledge is whether or not to take the breathalyzer test when given the option. Read below to learn a little more about your options.
Before I begin, however, I want to make sure you understand that this article is for informational purposes only. I am a Seattle DUI attorney, and as a Seattle DUI lawyer, I know a lot of information about DUIs in the Seattle area. What I don't have a lot of information about is DUI law throughout the entire country or your particular case. Because of this, you should not rely on this information as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only, to give you an idea of the questions to ask your criminal defense attorney when seeking information.
In nearly every state in the United States, there are two ways to be guilty of drunk driving - driving when too impaired to drive, and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or over. The legislators in charge of making laws have decided that included in your responsibilities to drive are a per se rule that you should not drive if your BAC is over .08. Because of this, if you blow over .08, your license is automatically suspended for a period of time. And even further, by getting a driver's license, you have impliedly consented to taking this test. That means if you refuse to take the test, you face an automatic license suspension that is even longer than if you took the test and failed, not to mention the increased criminal penalties.
Because of that, deciding whether to take the breathalyzer test or not is a very serious and important decision. And refusing to take the test may or may not make your day in court go any easier. This is because in most states prosecutor's are allowed to use the fact that you refused to take a breath test against you, despite your fourth amendment right not to incriminate yourself. So, first things, first, before you refuse to take a BAC test, consult a DUI lawyer.
So, should you ever refuse to take a breathalyzer test? In some circumstances it can be beneficial. The first is when you need to actually beat a DUI conviction because of job responsibilities or some other personal circumstances. Although the prosecutor can use a breath test refusal against you, it is much less harmful if you can rely on the advice of an attorney in refusing the test (we know how inaccurate breath tests can be). This is why you should always speak with a DUI attorney before deciding whether or not to take the breathalyzer test. Limiting the evidence the prosecutor has can greatly increase your chances of beating a DUI outright.
So, should you ever refuse a breathalyzer test? There are times when it is appropriate. But to know what you should do in your particular situation, you should ask to speak with an attorney before making the decision. Only then can you know your options, how the decision will affect you, and what you should do to minimize the damage of an alleged DUI.
Christopher Small is a Seattle DUI attorney and Seattle criminal attorney with CMS Law Firm LLC. If you have been charged with a crime in the Seattle area, don't wait to contact an attorney. Call us today for a free consultation to learn if we can help you fight your criminal charges and get the results you deserve.
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