You were stopped for DUI; the officer requested a chemical sample of your breath or blood and you refused? You are likely to receive notice now that your license is going to be suspended for a year or 18 months. This is in addition to any suspension that may come from the actual DUI charge. Many of our clients do not understand this. If you refused chemical testing and the officer properly notified PennDOT, your license could be suspended for one year or 18 months. If you accept ARD or are convicted of the DUI, your license will also be suspended for such, and it will be in addition to the suspension for your refusal. This is all part of Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law.
If you were stopped for DUI and you refused chemical testing, you are likely to receive notice from PennDOT of a suspension for a chemical test refusal. That notice will have a date at the top of the letter. You have 30 days to file an appeal and challenge this suspension. If you now have an address that is different from that on your Driver’s License, you may not receive this important notice. You are required to notify PennDOT of a change of address. There are defenses to the suspension for the chemical test refusal. Our attorneys regularly fight chemical test refusals across Western Pennsylvania. If you were stopped for DUI and refused chemical testing, don’t miss the appeal deadline, call the experienced DUI Attorneys of the Pittsburgh Criminal Law Group at 412-330-1000.
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1547. Chemical testing to determine amount of alcohol or controlled substance
(a) General rule.– Any person who drives, operates or is in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle in this Commonwealth shall be deemed to have given consent to one or more chemical tests of breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of blood or the presence of a controlled substance if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving, operating or in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle:
(1) in violation of section 1543(b)(1.1) (relating to driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked), 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) or 3808(a)(2) (relating to illegally operating a motor vehicle not equipped with ignition interlock); or
(2) which was involved in an accident in which the operator or passenger of any vehicle involved or a pedestrian required treatment at a medical facility or was killed.
(b) Suspension for refusal.– (1) If any person placed under arrest for a violation of section 3802 is requested to submit to chemical testing and refuses to do so, the testing shall not be conducted but upon notice by the police officer, the department shall suspend the operating privilege of the person as follows:
(i) Except as set forth in subparagraph (ii), for a period of 12 months.
(ii) For a period of 18 months if any of the following apply:
(A) The person’s operating privileges have previously been suspended under this subsection.
(B) The person has, prior to the refusal under this paragraph, been sentenced for:
(I) an offense under section 3802;
(II) an offense under former section 3731;
(III) an offense equivalent to an offense under subclause (I) or (II); or
(IV) a combination of the offenses set forth in this clause.
(2) It shall be the duty of the police officer to inform the person that:
(i) the person’s operating privilege will be suspended upon refusal to submit to chemical testing; and
(ii) if the person refuses to submit to chemical breath testing, upon conviction or plea for violating section 3802(a)(1), the person will be subject to the penalties provided in section 3804(c) (relating to penalties).
(3) Any person whose operating privilege is suspended under the provisions of this section shall have the same right of appeal as provided for in cases of suspension for other reasons.
(b.1) Other suspension for refusal.– (1) If any person placed under arrest for a violation of section 1543(b)(1.1) or 3808(a)(2) is requested to submit to chemical testing and refuses to do so, the testing shall not be conducted; but, upon notice by the police officer and provided no suspension is imposed pursuant to subsection (b), the department shall suspend the operating privilege of the person for a period of six months.
(2) It shall be the duty of the police officer to inform the person that the person’s operating privileges will be suspended upon refusal to submit to chemical testing.
(3) Notwithstanding section 3805(c) (relating to ignition interlock), if any person receives a suspension pursuant to this subsection who at the time of the offense was required to comply with the provisions of section 3805 prior to obtaining a replacement license under section 1951(d) (relating to driver’s license and learner’s license) that does not contain an ignition interlock restriction, the suspension imposed pursuant to this subsection shall result in the recall of any ignition interlock restricted license previously issued and the driver shall surrender the ignition interlock restricted license to the department or its agents designated under the authority of section 1540 (relating to surrender of licenses) and, prior to the issuance of a replacement license under section 1951(d) that does not contain an ignition interlock restriction, the department shall require that the person comply with the provisions of section 3805.
(c) Test results admissible in evidence.– In any summary proceeding or criminal proceeding in which the defendant is charged with a violation of section 3802 or any other violation of this title arising out of the same action, the amount of alcohol or controlled substance in the defendant’s blood, as shown by chemical testing of the person’s breath or blood, which tests were conducted by qualified persons using approved equipment, shall be admissible in evidence.
(1) Chemical tests of breath shall be performed on devices approved by the Department of Health using procedures prescribed jointly by regulations of the Departments of Health and Transportation. Devices shall have been calibrated and tested for accuracy within a period of time and in a manner specified by regulations of the Departments of Health and Transportation. For purposes of breath testing, a qualified person means a person who has fulfilled the training requirement in the use of the equipment in a training program approved by the Departments of Health and Transportation. A certificate or log showing that a device was calibrated and tested for accuracy and that the device was accurate shall be presumptive evidence of those facts in every proceeding in which a violation of this title is charged.
(2)(i) Chemical tests of blood, if conducted by a facility located in this Commonwealth, shall be performed by a clinical laboratory licensed and approved by the Department of Health for this purpose using procedures and equipment prescribed by the Department of Health or by a Pennsylvania State Police criminal laboratory. For purposes of blood testing, qualified person means an individual who is authorized to perform those chemical tests under the act of September 26, 1951 (P.L. 1539, No. 389), known as The Clinical Laboratory Act.
(ii) For purposes of blood testing to determine blood alcohol or controlled substance content levels, the procedures and equipment prescribed by the Department of Health shall be reviewed within 120 days of the effective date of this subparagraph and at least every two years thereafter to ensure that consideration is given to scientific and technological advances so that testing conducted in accordance with the prescribed procedures utilizing the prescribed equipment will be as accurate and reliable as science and technology permit.
(3) Chemical tests of blood, if conducted by a facility located outside this Commonwealth, shall be performed:
(i) by a facility licensed and approved by the Department of Health for this purpose; or
(ii) by a facility licensed to conduct the tests by the state in which the facility is located and licensed pursuant to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement
(4) For purposes of blood testing to determine the amount of a Schedule I or nonprescribed Schedule II or III controlled substance or a metabolite of such a substance, the Department of Health shall prescribe minimum levels of these substances which must be present in a person’s blood in order for the test results to be admissible in a prosecution for a violation of section 1543(b)(1.1), 3802(d)(1), (2) or (3) or 3808(a)(2). (d) Repealed by 2003, Sept. 30, P.L. 120, No. 24, § 10, effective Feb. 1, 2004.
(e) Refusal admissible in evidence.– In any summary proceeding or criminal proceeding in which the defendant is charged with a violation of section 3802 or any other violation of this title arising out of the same action, the fact that the defendant refused to submit to chemical testing as required by subsection (a) may be introduced in evidence along with other testimony concerning the circumstances of the refusal.No presumptions shall arise from this evidence but it may be considered along with other factors concerning the charge.
(f) Other evidence admissible.– Subsections (a) through (i) shall not be construed as limiting the introduction of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
(g) Test results available to defendant.– Upon the request of the person tested, the results of any chemical test shall be made available to him or his attorney.
(g.1) Cost of testing.– The cost of chemical testing, including the drawing of blood, performed under this section shall be paid as follows:
(1) By the individual tested, if the individual was convicted of or placed into any preadjudication program or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of section 3802.
(2) By the requesting authority, if the individual was found not guilty under section 3802 or had the charges dismissed or withdrawn.
(h) Test by personal physician.– The person tested shall be permitted to have a physician of his own choosing administer an additional breath or blood chemical test and the results of the test shall also be admissible in evidence. The chemical testing given at the direction of the police officer shall not be delayed by a person’s attempt to obtain an additional test.
(i) Request by driver for test.– Any person involved in an accident or placed under arrest for a violation of section 1543(b)(1.1), 3802 or 3808(a)(2) may request a chemical test of his breath or blood. Such requests shall be honored when it is reasonably practicable to do so.
(j) Immunity from civil liability and reports.– No physician, nurse or technician or hospital employing such physician, nurse or technician, and no other employer of such physician, nurse or technician shall be civilly liable for withdrawing blood and reporting test results to the police at the request of a police officer pursuant to this section. No physician, nurse or technician or hospital employing such physician, nurse or technician may administratively refuse to perform such tests and provide the results to the police officer except as may be reasonably expected from unusual circumstances that pertain at the time the request is made.
(k) Prearrest breath test authorized.– A police officer, having reasonable suspicion to believe a person is driving or in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, may require that person prior to arrest to submit to a preliminary breath test on a device approved by the Department of Health for this purpose. The sole purpose of this preliminary breath test is to assist the officer in determining whether or not the person should be placed under arrest. The preliminary breath test shall be in addition to any other requirements of this title. No person has any right to expect or demand a preliminary breath test. Refusal to submit to the test shall not be considered for purposes of subsections (b) and (e).
(l) Definitions.– As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Adult.” A person 21 years of age or older.
“Minor.” A person under 21 years of age.