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Choosing the right test during a DUI stop in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, you will likely be asked to take a test to confirm your sobriety. These tests are mainly breathalyzer or blood tests. They each have their pros and cons that you should consider depending on the circumstances of your stoppage.

Understanding breathalyzer and blood tests

A breathalyzer test is a roadside sobriety test in which you are asked to blow into a machine to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). If the reading shows 0.08 or above, the police officer will arrest you for DUI.

On the other hand, a blood test requires drawing your blood to measure your BAC. The police officer will likely take you to the station or a hospital for this test.

Your rights

In Pennsylvania, you are legally allowed to refuse both tests. However, refusal can lead to your driver’s license automatic suspension for one year.

There are also circumstances where a non-consensual blood test may be forced upon you. For example, if you are involved in an accident where someone is injured, the police can take a blood sample without your consent.

What to choose

The main advantage of taking a breathalyzer is that it is usually quicker and less invasive than a blood test. The con is that there are times when it could be inaccurate, and those false positive results may be used to convict you.

A blood test is generally a good idea if you have a little to drink, maybe just half a bottle of beer, but you fear that your breath may betray you. It may also be a good option if you have a condition such as acid reflux or have taken a prescription drug that has alcohol in it. The disadvantage, however, is that it takes longer and is more invasive.

A DUI charge may be a simple misdemeanor, but its consequences can stretch beyond criminal penalties. If there are defenses you can use, it may be helpful to explore them.