The explanation of implied consent says that consent assessed when the surrounding circumstances lead a reasonable person to believe that consent has been granted even though word of agreement were not direct, express or explicit. Implied consent is used by law enforcement when it comes to determining whether you are intoxicated or not. In the case of drunk driving, most states have adopted the law that if you are driving a vehicle, you have then given consent to submit to the approved test to find out if you’re driving under the influence of alcohol. When you are stopped and you’re not sure of what your alcohol level is, you cannot refuse to take a breathalyzer test. As soon as you got your drivers license, you gave consent in advance to do this. If you refuse, you will find yourself in bigger trouble than you would have by submitting to the test. This implied consent is automatic in the case of anyone who drives a vehicle.
In Pennsylvania, the Implied Consent law requires you to take the test. If you refuse you can lose your license for up to 12 months due to this refusal. Given that, you still end up with a DUI conviction and the 12 months for refusing to take the Breathalyzer will be in addition to what will result from your conviction. Most lawyers advise their clients to take this test and rightly so.
When you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, the arresting officer should read you the Implied Consent Notice. At the end of this notice you will be asked to take a test of blood, urine or breath or any combination of these three. You should never refuse any of the tests, although there are circumstances where they should not be taken. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence and there are aggravating circumstances such as injury or death, this could cause you to be facing as high as a 15 years prison term, so it’s debatable whether you take the test or not.
These laws seldom differ from state to state, although some of the states are a little tougher as in the case of Michigan. If a teen in Michigan is found in possession of alcohol, whether they are in a vehicle or not, this can result in losing his/her driving license or at the least a suspension of the license. Any involvement with alcohol in any way can result with losing your license.
There has been much controversy over implied consent. Some disagree on the grounds that it is against their constitutional rights to be forced to take a blood test or any test when stopped by law enforcement. Also they base their argument on the first amendment, which states “ no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”.
In one state it has taken this right of refusal a step further by bringing in a law that states that refusing a blood alcohol test is a misdemeanor on the grounds that the privilege protects an accused only from testifying against himself or otherwise provide the state with a sample of evidence. Most states require an officer to provide the suspect with some form of warning. In some cases, lawyers have argued that a refusal to submit to testing without prior knowledge should not be allowed to provide bases for the suspension of a driver’s license.
For now, the law states that we are to submit to testing if we are stopped under the suspicion of drunk driving. Some states may vary, but on the whole if we do the crime we will pay for it. Refusal will not make it go away - it will just make it worse. Whether this is good or bad, it is the law.
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