You always have a right to refuse a breath test if you are pulled over for a DUI. However, some people throw this information around as if refusing will get you out of the whole thing without any penalty, and this is not the case. If you have been told never to take breath tests, there are a few things that you should know about exactly what this refusal is going to mean.
In the immediate term, loss of a driver's license is probably is the consequence for drinking and driving that affects people most on a day-to-day basis. Certainly, having a mark on a criminal record is something that can follow a person for a lifetime, but being unable to legally drive for at least six months can have devastating consequences.
Implied consent laws are a common point of discussion on this blog, and for good reason. Without an understanding of what this statute means, drivers may unknowingly create serious legal trouble for themselves.
As we've covered before, South Carolina has an implied consent law on the books, much like other states. In short, this means that anyone who operates a motor vehicle within the state has implicitly agreed to submit to a breath test at the request of police officers. If a person is pulled over and a cop suspects that he or she has consumed alcohol, a subsequent breath test can be refused. However, this choice generally leads to an automatic administrative driver's license suspension.
The idea of what it means to refuse to take a breath test seems pretty clear cut. During a roadside stop, a person could either comply with the police officer's request or indicate that he or she doesn't want to take the test. Those seem like the two discrete options, right?
In our blog post published on March 27, we discussed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that had a significant, immediate impact on defending against drunk driving charges. Although the Missouri v. McNeeley ruling was made several months ago, the full range of impacts is yet to be seen.
After pulling a driver over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, police officers may ask the motorist to submit to a breath test. When this happens, the driver is confronted with the choice between complying or refusing. In the heat of the moment, it may be very difficult to determine the best course of action.
There are serious consequences for South Carolina drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is suspected of driving while intoxicated, the authorities may employ a breath test to determine the blood alcohol level of the accused. Consenting to these tests is not mandatory -- as one such instance shows -- but those who refuse to take a breath test can face another set of legal issues.
When a resident of South Carolina is charged with illegally driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there is always the potential for serious consequences no matter what the nature of the circumstances surrounding the charges. However, the circumstances surrounding the situation as well as the alleged drunk driver's criminal history, if any, can lead to an increased level of severity in the charges. Some of these circumstances might include a high blood alcohol content, refusing a Breathalyzer or causing an accident that leads to the severe bodily harm or death of another individual.
As previous posts in this blog have discussed, sometimes the authorities of South Carolina will set up sobriety checkpoints or put extra forces behind finding and arresting alleged drunk drivers. When a driver happens upon these checkpoints, they may feel nervous and react in an unexpected manner. It is possible that this is what happened to a South Carolina driver that approached a driver's license checkpoint on a Friday morning.