One of the most frequent questions I'm asked about Driving Under the
Influence ("DUI") is, "should I take the breathalyzer?"
Generally, whether you should refuse or submit to the breath test will
depend on the circumstances of your charge and the evidence that has already
been obtained against you. But a more helpful question may be, "what
happens if I do submit a breath sample or if I choose to refuse?"
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer your driver's license will be
suspended but you may have avoided providing further evidence of impairment.
There are also administrative procedures which may allow you to obtain
a temporary license pending the case or even have your license fully reinstated.
Unfortunately, a refusal may be used as evidence against you in the event
you contest the charge.
Alternatively, if you choose to submit a breath sample and your blood alcohol
content is less than .05 percent then the charge for driving under the
influence of alcohol will be doubtful. On the other hand, at .08 or greater
there is a legal inference that you are impaired but if your blood alcohol
content does not exceed .14 percent you will be able to keep your license.
Keep in mind, the higher the percentage the stronger the evidence will
be of your impairment and, if convicted, the greater the criminal penalties.
In any case, refusing or submitting to the breathalyzer will have evidentiary
and administrative consequences but taking advantage of administrative
remedies and making informed decisions may help you to obtain the resolution
you are hoping for. To further discuss the consequences of being charged
with DUI specific to the facts of your case, please contact Chris S. Truluck
at the Finkel Law Firm to set up a consultation.
This article is addressed to South Carolina Legislation effective until 10/1/14.