Refusing a BAC Test in Columbia DUI Cases

Due to the dangers of drinking and driving, law enforcement uses various methods to arrest people for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One of the tactics police officers use is the blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If someone’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, it is inferred that the person was impaired. Most people do not know that if an officer asks you to take a BAC test, you can refuse it. For more information regarding refusing a BAC test in Columbia DUI cases, contact an experienced driving under the influence lawyer today.

Circumstances Someone Can Refuse a BAC Test

The Fifth Amendment gives people the right against self-incrimination, which means people have the right to refuse a BAC or breath test. However, if someone refuses the test, there are penalties associated with it because they implied they were under the influence while driving. A person does not have a constitutional right to drive on any state roads, it is a privilege to drive. Because it is a privilege, people have impliedly consented by driving on the roads to submitting to a breath, urine, or blood test. Even though someone has impliedly consented to take the test by driving on the roads, they still have an absolute right to refuse to take the test.

Consequences for Refusal

If an individual refuses to take the breath test, and the police have had the 20-minute wait period, checked their mouth, read to them their implied consent rights, and the data master machine is beeping, their license will be suspended for six months. A person is then given a notice of suspension form. They have 30 days from that date to file for a contested case hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is the only way someone can challenge the suspension. If a person took the test and blew over a .15, their license is suspended for one month. If a person refuses the test, their license is suspended for six months. There are many collateral consequences that can come from refusing a BAC test in Columbia DUI cases.

Contacting an Attorney for a DUI Case

Immediately upon arrest, a person should invoke their right to counsel by not answering any questions without having a lawyer present. The individual also needs to make the decision about whether they want to provide evidence of impairment. If the person is going to have a significant blood alcohol content level, then it will be a problem for their case. They need to weigh the risk and reward and the cost and benefit of refusing a BAC test in Columbia DUI cases. If they refuse the test and their license is suspended, the officer can help them contest the case hearing and administrative hearing.

They can go to the DMV while the hearing is pending, get a temporary alcohol restricted license, and drive. A person gets one time in their life to get a route restricted license so they can drive to and from work. A seasoned lawyer can help someone pulled over for suspected driving and driving by providing legal advice on the situation so that the person’s rights are protected.