Do I Have to Submit to a Chemical Test after a DUI Arrest?

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What Will Happen Once I Am Pulled Over for a DUI?

If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, the officer may ask you to submit to a field sobriety test, which may involve a handheld breathalyzer, or any number of other tasks. These tests are not required and will likely never help you.

If there is cause to arrest you for drunk driving, you will be asked to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level. The results of this test can be used against you at your trial.

Can I Refuse to Submit to a Chemical Test Once Arrested?

You can refuse to take a chemical test. However, refusal can have some serious consequences. Under the laws of most states, refusing to submit to chemical testing will result in the suspension of your driver’s license. 

To make matters worse, navigating an administrative system such as the Department of Motor Vehicles can be far more complicated than the criminal justice system. This is true even if you are eventually found not guilty of the DUI you were originally arrested for. 

Also, if your case does go to trial, the prosecutor may be able to tell the jury that you refused to take a chemical test in an effort to persuade the jury that you were in fact intoxicated.

Should I Seek Legal Help?

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you should request to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. In some states, you will be able to talk to your lawyer before your chemical test, and receive advice on how to proceed. However, other states do not allow you to consult with your lawyer until after you submit or refuse to submit to a chemical test. Regardless of where you live, you should ask to speak to an attorney immediately in order to protect your rights.

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Last Modified: 04-11-2014 02:55 PM PDT

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