Refusing Columbia DUI Alcohol and Drug Tests

Alcohol and drug tests are the primary methods of gauging whether a person is driving while impaired or not. When the state levels a DUI or DUID charge against someone, the results of these tests are often major pieces of evidence in their case. However, many people do not realize that they have the right to refuse testing. The downside is, refusal of testing could result in license suspension and other penalties. If you want to know more about refusing Columbia DUI alcohol and drug tests, speak with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer that could answer your questions and explain what legal options are available to you.

Types of Samples Used in Alcohol or Drug Tests

There are three types of tests that a person might be expected to take if they are suspected of a DUI. One is the breath test, either done through with the data master in South Carolina or a breathalyzer in other states. At the hospital, either through the officer’s request or through the defendant’s request for affirmative assistance, a blood draw can be done. If someone does not have a blood alcohol level or BAC level showing that the person is impaired and the officer believes the person is impaired by illegal drugs, prescription medication, legal drugs, or controlled substances, the officer can ask for a urine test.

What Happens to a Person’s License if They Refuse a Test?

Driving is not a constitutional right. South Carolina says that it is a privilege to drive on their roads. If a person drives on South Carolina roads, they have impliedly consented to these tests and these implied consent laws must be read to the person prior to administration of these tests that they have a right to refuse the test. Through this implied consent, they can drive on South Carolina roads and have agreed to take these tests. Refusing Columbia DUI alcohol and drug tests could have serious implications for a person. For example, a refusal of a breath test is a six-month suspension of their driver’s license.

Argument for Refusing DUI Testing

If the person knows that they drank a significant amount of alcohol, it would not be advised to take the test, because that is strong evidence that can be used against them to prove their guilt. Also, the penalties for DUI are enhanced based on the level of their blood alcohol content or BAC. If someone knows that they have ingested or smoked some type of drug that would be present with a blood test or with alcohol since they will be testing for ethanol in the blood, they must weigh the cost-benefit, risk, and reward as far as deciding whether refusing Columbia DUI alcohol and drug tests and losing their license, is better than consenting to testing and facing a charge.

Penalties for a DUI Offense

The penalty for an alcohol-based DUI offense is different for someone who has a .9 or below than for someone who has a .1 to .15 and it is increased at .16 and above. Someone can easily have blood alcohol content or a BAC above .16. The amount of jail time they are facing is significantly increased. If they know that they drank a significant amount of alcohol, they need to take that into consideration when laying the cost-benefit analysis of a six-month suspension versus increasing the amount of potential jail time and mandatory minimum sentence that is available. The mandatory minimum sentence is the most severe part because it is mandatory and then evidence that can be used against them at trial.

Contesting a DUI Charge

If the person wanted to fight the case, have a jury trial, and get the BAC level thrown out if the attorney was not able to get the judge to suppress it, the jury is going to hear that high BAC level. That makes the case much weaker than had there not been a BAC level. If the jury hears a person had a .23 BAC, they are going to know that the person had almost tripled the legal limit. Since BAC level is something that a jury could infer of impairment, it does not automatically mean that they are guilty of DUI and their faculties were materially impaired. It just proves that the inference level to a juror member has increased and the likelihood of being convicted increased with it.

Another important thing to consider is that by refusing Columbia DUI alcohol and drug tests, an individual is taking potential evidence away from the state. Sn individual has to decide whether they would like to potentially give the government, police, or prosecutor evidence to be used against them to prove their guilt of DUI, even if they are not guilty, because of the challenging reliability of these tests versus the administrative and the six-month suspension of their driver’s license for refusal.

Justifiable Reasons for Refusing Blood Tests

Some people with certain phobias, illness, or religious beliefs cannot consent to give blood and that can be a valid reason for refusing Columbia DUI alcohol and drug tests. They have a constitutional right to refuse that blood test. The caveat is that it is always a fighting battle in the United States Supreme Courts. Recent opinions help get a little bit more in terms of trying to protect the person’s constitutional rights in relations to the blood test. A qualified DUI lawyer could defend the rights of those who have refused testing, and could defend the cases of those who have consented.

Refusing Columbia DUI Alcohol and Drug Tests