What Happens If I Refuse to Take a Breath Test?
Negative and Positive Consequences
South Carolina's implied consent law mandates that all drivers arrested
for a DUI charge take a breathalyzer test at the request of law enforcement
as part of a DUI arrest. If a driver is unable to take a breath test due
to a medical condition they may be asked to submit to a blood sample.
There are consequences, however, if you refuse to submit to the sample.
You may be subject to an immediate and automatic six month
suspension of your driver's license. This is in addition to any other suspension that may result from being
convicted of the DUI later.
If you contest the DUI charge in court,
the prosecutor may be able to tell the court that you refused to submit
to the test, allowing your judge or jury to draw a negative inference
from your refusal. You also can lose any chance to show the court later that your blood
alcohol content (BAC) would have been below South Carolina's
per se limit (currently 0.08). If you refuse to submit to the breath or blood
samples, your case may be benefited as follows by giving you entitlement
to request a hearing to challenge the implied consent. Typically, your
driver's license will be restored in about one week.
The suspension might not ever be reinstated depending upon negotiations
with the prosecutor or the outcome of the hearing. Generally, your DUI
case will only be prosecuted at the minimum level resulting in the lowest
fine or sentence in the event you are ultimately convicted by the court.
Refusal also makes sure that there will not be any direct evidence in
court that your BAC was higher than the allowable limits. This limits
the evidence against you in most cases to the officer's subjective
impressions and circumstantial evidence.
Refusal to Submit Penalty in Lexington, SC
There is not a separate criminal penalty in South Carolina for refusing
to submit to a breath test procedure. Other states have differing laws,
so the information contained herein should be considered only from a South
Carolina DUI perspective. If your license was suspended for refusing a
breath test, you may be able to have it reinstated. For more information on
DUI Defense as it applies to your case, contact a Lexington
criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. In addition to
Lexington, we also serve the Columbia area as well as other South Carolina
communities. Initial appointments at our Lexington office are provided
at no cost to those facing any DUI charge, so
call our Lexington criminal lawyers today!