Whenever you choose to get behind the wheel while you are intoxicated, you risk being pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Police officers have a number of methods to help determine whether or not you are drunk beyond the legal limit, including field sobriety tests, blood or urine samples, and breathalyzer tests. If you are pulled over you may be asked to submit to one or more of the above tests to determine your drunkenness.
What is Implied Consent?
All states now have some form of an Implied Consent Law. An Implied Consent Law means that, whenever you choose to drive on the roads in a state, you are automatically agreeing to consent to blood, urine, or breathalyzer tests if you are pulled over for drunk driving. These tests tell the officer whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is above the legal limit. Refusing to comply with an officer's request to take one of these tests results in penalties set by that particular state.
The Consequences of Implied Consent
If you comply with the Implied Consent Law and take a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test, you may be able to immediately prove that you are under the legal BAC limit and you may be released without charges. However, if the test shows that you are over the legal limit, this can be used as grounds for arrest on DUI charges and also as strong evidence to support a DUI conviction.
If you choose not to comply with the Implied Consent Law, you are not guaranteed protection from arrest. You may still be arrested if a police officer has reason to believe that you are drunk. If he or she can provide other evidence that you were intoxicated beyond the legal limit, you may still receive a DUI conviction. In addition to facing the penalties for a DUI, you will also be subject to the penalties for withdrawing implied consent, called Refusal. Some states classify Refusal as a crime, so even if you are found to be innocent on DUI charges, you may still end up with a criminal record for refusing to submit to a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test.
Why You May Need a Lawyer
DUI and Refusal charges carry serious penalties if you are convicted and result in a criminal record which could hurt you personally and professionally. A DUI defense lawyer is familiar with the common types of evidence used by the prosecution and knows how to find weaknesses in the case against you. A good lawyer will aggressively defend your case and fight to defend your rights in a court of law.
For sound legal advice on defending against DUI and Refusal charges, visit the website of Rhode Island DUI defense attorney James Powderly here.
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