All drivers in Pennsylvania are said to have given “implied consent” to a blood, alcohol or urine screening to test for the presence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Therefore, there are penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing when lawfully requested by a police officer.

Section 1547 of the PA Vehicle Code governs chemical testing of a driver. The law requires that, before requesting chemical testing, a police must have reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. The police officer must then read the refusal warning to the driver. This warning is contained in the “DL-26” form and is as follows:

1. Please be advised that you are under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance in violation of Section 3802 of the Vehicle Code.

2. I am requesting that you submit to a chemical test of __________ (blood, breath or urine. Officer chooses the chemical test).

3. It is my duty as a police officer to inform you that if you refuse to submit to the chemical test, your operating privilege will be suspended for at least one year. In addition, if your refuse to submit to the chemical test, and you are convicted of, plead to, or adjudicated delinquent with respect to violating Section 3802(a) of the Vehicle Code, because of your refusal, you will be submit to the more severe penalties set forth in Section 3804(c) of the Vehicle Code, which include a minimum of 72 hours in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000.00.

4. It is also my duty as a police officer to inform you that you have no right to speak with an attorney or anyone else before deciding whether to submit to testing and any request to speak with an attorney or anyone else after being provided these warnings or remaining silent when asked to submit to chemical testing will constitute a refusal, resulting in the suspension of your operating privilege and other enhanced criminal sanctions if you are convicted of violating Section 3802(a) of the Vehicle Code.

The driver is then asked to sign the DL-26 form indicating that he has been advised of the refusal warnings. As stated in the warnings, a driver does not have the right to consult with an attorney before making a decision whether or not to submit to chemical testing. Courts have decided that consent to submit to chemical testing must be immediate and absolute. Anything else can be considered a refusal. Further, a driver’s conduct can be considered a refusal if he, for example, is attempting to delay the testing or provides insufficient breath for a breath test.water obstacle

What is the penalty for refusing to submit to a lawful request for chemical testing? A refusal results in an automatic 1 year license suspension. The suspension increases to 18 months if the driver’s privileges were previously suspended for refusal or the driver was previously convicted of a DUI. Please note, the suspension for refusal does not go away if the underlying charge is dismissed. As an example, if a driver is arrested for a DUI and refuses to submit to a blood test, his license will be suspended for refusal even if he is later found not guilty of the DUI.

What can you do if your license has been suspended for refusing to submit to chemical testing? Call our office right away at 610-372-5128. You have 30 days from the date that your suspension notice is mailed to request an appeal of your license suspension.

Refusing a request for chemical testing can have a lasting impact on your life. While you
can’t consult with us before you make a decision about whether or not to submit to the testing, we can help you deal with the consequences. Contact our Berks County DUI attorneys today at 610-372-5128 or email us at [email protected]