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Declining DUI Breath Tests in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC refusing a breath test when suspected of a DUI can carry certain penalties. DC DUI lawyer Shawn Sukumar discusses these penalties in more detail below along with whether or not you have the right to refuse blood and urine tests. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.

Can You Refuse To Take These Tests In DC?

When a person is asked to submit to a breathalyzer test it’s because they’re alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol, they’re read an implied consent form which says that by driving on a DC road a person had implicitly given their consent to provide a sample of their breath, blood or urine if they’re arrested for driving under the influence. A person would have to be informed that withdrawing that consent, thereby refusing to give a sample of their breath, blood or urine, would result in certain consequences. So the consequences a person would have to be made aware of would be a mandatory one year revocation of a person’s driving privileges just for the refusal alone. And it wouldn’t matter if the person was found guilty or not of the underlined DUI.

The refusal alone can result in a mandatory one year license revocation of a person’s driving privileges. The implied consent notice also informs a person that refusal to submit to any of these tests can also be used as evidence against a person at a person’s trial, meaning that a prosecutor could argue that the person’s refusal to submit to one of these tests is evidence that that person was aware that they were guilty of the offense and did not want to provide evidence that would incriminate them. This evidence is called consciousness of guilt evidence.

Consequences of Declining a Chemical Test

A person should also be aware that refusal to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine could result in a certain plea offers not being made available to that person in the event of the case goes on to a criminal charge. A person always has the option of declining to give a breath sample or blood sample or a urine sample. And in the event the person declines to do so that refusal will be noted in the police officers records and will then be included in the reports that are written up as part of the prosecutor’s case. The only situation where a person is not permitted to decline to submit to testing is if the person gets into a traffic accident.

If You Do Decline A Test, Can That Be Used Against You In Court?

Yes, declining to provide a sample can be used as evidence of a person’s consciousness of their own guilt. Now the refusal alone can’t be used to presume that you’re guilty, it can only be used as one piece of evidence. That evidence can be challenged by defense attorneys because there are, in fact, any number of reasons why a person might refuse or decline to give a sample of their breath, blood or urine. And so even though a prosecutor could try to use that evidence against the defendant and is permitted to do so that evidence can still be challenged by a defense attorney.

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