Can You Refuse A Breathalyzer In Utah?
Being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) can be extremely stressful. For many people, this may be their first and only encounter with police as a suspect. You may have questions and doubts about what is happening, and whether what police are telling you is in fact the truth. In any state, police can pull you over if they suspect you of drunk driving or another traffic violation. When doing so, they may investigate you for DUI if they have some reasonable suspicion that you are driving drunk. Police may ask you if you’ve had anything to drink, they may smell alcohol on your breath, and they may perform field sobriety tests to check your coordination, etc. One other tool they frequently use is breathalyzer tests. In some states, breathalyzer results are not used in court as evidence. Those states require blood tests, or improved chemical breath tests. However, in Utah, the portable breath test kits commonly known as “breathalyzers” can often be used as evidence against you. Because of this, Utah’s laws on refusing breath tests are very strict.
In Utah, it is an independent crime to refuse a breathalyzer test. For this crime to take effect, you must already be under arrest. If you have not been arrested, police have no right to order you to take a breath test without a warrant. The justification for this law is Utah’s “implied consent” law. Under Utah Code § 41-6a-520, by driving in the State of Utah, you are “considered to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of [your] breath, blood, urine, or oral fluids for the purpose of determining” intoxicated driving. This means that, according to this rule, you have no right to refuse a breath test because you already consented to it. This reasoning is obviously flawed, but is the law. Before you can face any penalties for refusing a breath test, police must warn you about the penalties. This gives you much of the information you need to make an informed decision. Before administering any breath tests, police must warn you of the potential license suspension, driving probation, and ignition interlock penalties associated with a DUI breath test refusal.
If they warn you, and you still refuse, you could face the following penalties:
• Immediately losing your license;
• Facing 5 or 10 years of driving probation, where it will be illegal to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system; and
• A required three-year period where you must drive with an “ignition interlock,” which will not allow your car to start until it accepts a clean breath test.
These penalties are separate from any DUI penalty, and take effect merely by your refusal, not by a later DUI conviction. After an officer suspects that a person may be driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, Marijuana, or even prescription medication, they will request that a driver submit to a roadside breath test using a portable device, or to take a blood test at the hospital. Refusal to provide a breath test sample is often an option for a driver in this situation, however it still can have serious penalties if the DUI or DWI test refusal charges are not won or get dismissed in court. The consequences are also just as severe if a driver to refuses to take a blood test to determine if they are under the influence of Marijuana, drugs, or some types of prescription medicine. The DUI offense will apply whether the test refusal was on purpose, or an arrested driver failed to blow into or take the Breathalyzer test properly. When a driver who gets pulled over by police is suspected of DUI, and later has been charged with a refusal offense because of choosing not to take the Breathalyzer or even a blood test, they still may have a strong and valid defense for how to fight and beat the charges.
Once a Lawyer can examine the details of the arrest that a driver submits online so as to what took place, the local lawyers who will carefully review the information for defense options for what is best to get out of a DUI test refusal case, will be able to discuss all the ways how they then help fight to dismiss or win against the charge. In order for a driver’s rights not to be violated, the arresting police officer must follow all the newest laws for DUI testing procedure and rules when they ask that a person take a breath or blood test after a DUI/DWI traffic stop, which also sometimes includes asking a driver to take a urine test as well. If after being able to review a driver’s arrest information it is found that the proper test standards were not followed when asking that a driver take a breath or blood test, it may very well be possible to have Breathalyzer or blood test refusal offense thrown out of court for a case dismissal of the charges. This is because the arresting police officers must act in accordance with the latest DUI laws in place for using the Breathalyzer equipment, which also must be working and maintained properly in order for a failure to take a breath test charge stand beyond a reasonable doubt in court. Even in the most complicated or complex cases which a DUI/DWI refusal offense often seems like with the technical nature of most, and the fighting to drop, reduce, or dismiss the charges seems impossible, the local attorney who analyzes a person’s arrest details will be able explore all available options that can often prove successful. The biggest issue for what happens after entering a guilty plea to a DUI or DWI test refusal charge is that a person will then be admitting to the offense which will have the same severe costs and penalties as if a driver had taken the sobriety tests and failed over the limit, which will also result in a permanent criminal record for life.
While each person’s own arrest circumstances and what happened is unique, there are certain common things that could happen which could result in a driver getting out of a DUI test refusal charge, such as:
• The arresting police officer does not show up to court;
• A person has their rights violated by denying their right to a speedy trial within a reasonable and fair amount of time;
• The prosecution attorney made crucial mistakes in the case;
• The facts and details of a person’s arrest provides for a successful defense for why a driver chose to refuse the DUI breath or blood test.
In some arrest scenarios when a driver does not refuse a breath test and blows over .05 BAC on the Breathalyzer test, sometimes they make a costly mistake thinking if they plead guilty, it might help get the case over with faster. When unaware first DUI offense drivers make this assumption, they usually are under the impression that a guilty plea will speed up the inevitable and get a suspended driver’s license back sooner. However it is very important to realize that before deciding to plead guilty to DUI or DWI, whether for a test refusal offense or even blowing over the legal alcohol limit, it’s vital that a person keep a certain facts about what will happen afterwards in mind. After a driver decides to plead guilty and gets convicted of a DUI offense, or refusing the breath or blood test:
• A driver will have will have a lifetime criminal record (searchable in any future background check).
• A driver’s license will be suspended for an average length of time for a period of one year.
• Those who plead guilty will also have to get an Ignition Interlock device installed on any vehicle they drive (which includes a company car or any other vehicle driven for work).
• There is still the strong possibility of having to serve jail time, along with an average 3 year driver’s license suspension if convicted for a 2nd DUI offense again in the future.
• Many people will have both current job and future employment problems when a driver’s license is suspended, or an Ignition Interlock device is required in order to legally drive.
While a driver who decides to refuse to take a DUI/DWI Breathalyzer or blood test will likely result in an arrest, they still do have rights which could possibly get a dismissal of the charges. A person does have the right to refuse a ‘walk in a straight line, heel to toe’ type of roadside field sobriety test during the traffic or DUI stop. A driver also has the right to know why they have been stopped in the first place, especially when the officer wants a person to go to the police station to take an official Breathalyzer test or to the hospital for a blood test for a suspected DUI or DWI offense. A driver always has the basic right to remain silent and not say or do anything that might incriminate themselves. What this means exactly, is that a person does not have to explain or provide the details of where they came from, or what they did earlier in the day or evening with the officer. Even in the situations when a person has maybe consumed a couple drinks, they do not have to tell the officer what time they had been drinking, what kind of drinks they had, or how many drinks they had before driving. It is a basic rule of thumb that the more a person remains silent after an arrest and less they discuss anything with police until first speaking to a lawyer, the more likely it will be that an attorney can help to fight and beat the case with success. After a driver is going to detained or arrested by an officer, as part of a driver’s constitutional rights, at this time a police officer must inform the person under detainment or arrest that they have the optional right to talk with a lawyer first, before speaking any further with the police officers. Speaking with or getting the help of an arrest review by local DUI and DWI lawyers who specialize in fighting and winning against test refusal offense cases, is the most effective step to take at this point. Just because at first the chances of getting the charges dropped or the case dismissed doesn’t seem high, when it comes to all the often technical defenses available for any type of DUI offense, there is always a strong defense that can help fight the arrest to be made. This is because the local DUI lawyers who examine a person’s arrest details online are experts in this complex field of law, and deal with finding new ways of how to fight to dismiss DUI test refusal cases often. They successfully challenge complicated cases when a driver decides to refuse a breath, blood, or urine test all the time. This is why after first being able to examine a driver’s arrest details online; they will then know exactly what to do next for how to build the strongest defense and fight to get a dismissal of the test refusal or have charges reduced, whenever possible.
These are the first things a skilled attorney will look at first after being able to review the arrest of a driver charged with refusing to take the DUI Breathalyzer or blood test:
1. Did the police pull over or stop a driver for a valid reason?
2. At what point did the police officer request that a person take the roadside breath test screening device?
3. Was the roadside breath test device or Breathalyzer machine at the police station approved and calibrated properly?
4. Did the officer speak clearly enough for a driver to easily understand before refusing to take the test?
5. Was a person given a proper chance to speak with an attorney while being detained at the police station?
6. Did a person actually try to take the test and blow into the breath machine, but was charged with a DUI/DWI test refusal anyway?
A driver getting pulled over and then arrested for being suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be a frightening ordeal for anyone to go through regardless if it’s for a first-time DUI or DWI offense or not. Even when a driver had chosen to refuse a breath and blood test, please take advantage of the free online DUI help we provide by having am experienced local lawyer review the arrest circumstances of what took place. After taking this necessary first step of getting the proper legal help, they can then discuss how they can fight to get out of a DUI refusal offense case based upon the details of what happened.
Implied Consent Laws
Typically, most states implied consent laws include:
• Carrying a driver’s license and proof of insurance and producing them when asked by law enforcement.
• Consenting to blood, urine, and/or breath tests to determine your blood-alcohol content if asked.
• Performing field sobriety tests when requested.
In some states, the implied consent terms are printed on the back of your driver’s license itself.
Refusal Can Mean Immediate License Suspension
In some states, the officer can immediately confiscate your driver’s license as an administrative, not criminal action, because you broke your written promise to submit to such testing when you applied for that license. You may be thinking that is a violation of your right against double jeopardy and being punished for the same crime twice. But in most states, taking away your driving privileges has been set up as an administrative function of the department of motor vehicles and not a function of the criminal court. After all, the Department of Motor Vehicles granted you those driving privileges, it can take them away. If you refuse the officer’s request for sobriety testing, your license can be immediately suspended for six months to a year, depending on the laws of the state in which you are arrested. You may also have to pay fees and penalties before your license can be returned.
When you need legal help with a DUI or criminal defense lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506