If you are pulled over by the police for suspicion of DUI and then refuse to take the Breathalyzer test when police demand that you do, there are serious legal consequences. Any person who drives on our state roads, streets or highways has given "implied consent" to chemical testing by breath, blood or urine. The police officer who stopped you has the right to ask you to take the test, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that you are operating a vehicle above the legal limit. What are reasonable grounds? The police officer must observe signs of impairment that could lead a reasonable person to believe that you were above the legal limit. These signs could include instances of bad driving such as swerving, weaving, and driving with your headlights off at night. Or, the police officer could notice signs of impairment in your behavior, such as, odor of alcohol, slurred speech, blood shot or watery eyes.
Prior to the test, the officer is required under state law to inform you of the consequences of a refusal. If you do refuse to submit to the breath test, your driver's license will be taken from you immediately. You may be issued a temporary permit for the next 30 days. The penalty for a refusal is usually a one year suspension. If you have refused or failed a breath, blood or urine test, in the past five years, your license will be suspended for three years, and you will not be eligible for a hardship in that time. You could be fined up to $1,000, and you may still be found guilty of DUI if you don't take action to defend yourself.
There are various issues that should be evaluated by a skilled Portland DUI lawyer if you refused the test. You may have been the victim of a rights violation, and were not exhibiting any driving behavior that would warrant being pulled over. You may have been subjected to unlawful law enforcement procedure. No matter what took place in your case, there is the possibility of avoiding the consequences, including fines, jail time and conviction on a DUI charge. Get your case reviewed by a professional Portland DUI lawyer at once.
Neal Weingart is a prominent and respected DUI defense lawyer in the Portland area.