When the flashing lights of a police car appear in your rearview mirror, your heart may skip a beat. A traffic stop can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve had a drink before getting behind the wheel. As the officer approaches your window, you wonder, “Should I take the breathalyzer test or refuse it?”
In South Carolina, your license will be automatically suspended for refusing a breath test. It’s critical to contact a Charleston DUI attorney right away if you’re charged with driving under the influence.
How Do Understanding Breathalyzer Tests Work?
breathalyzer devices estimate your BAC by analyzing the amount of alcohol vapor present in your breath when you exhale. When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into your blood and eventually makes its way to the lungs. As you breathe out, some of this alcohol evaporates into the air, which is what the breathalyzer detects.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in South Carolina is 0.08%. Exceeding this limit can result in serious legal repercussions such as fines, license suspension, and jail time. Knowing your rights and responsibilities is essential when facing a potential DUI charge.
The accuracy of these tests can vary depending on various factors, such as calibration and maintenance procedures followed by law enforcement agencies. External substances like mouthwash or certain medications can also impact test results.
What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
South Carolina has an implied consent law. This law essentially states that by obtaining a driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle on public roads, you have implicitly agreed to submit to chemical tests if law enforcement suspects you of driving under the influence. This means that if an officer pulls you over and believes you are intoxicated, they can request that you take a breathalyzer test.
If you refuse a breathalyzer test in South Carolina, your license will be automatically suspended for at least six months. This is separate from any penalties or suspension imposed because of a DUI conviction. You will also have to complete the Alcohol & Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
If you have prior DUI offenses on your record from within the past ten years, the license suspension can last even longer. The license suspension period is nine months for a second offense and twelve months for a third offense.
Prosecutors may use your refusal as evidence of guilt, arguing that you refused the test because you knew you were intoxicated.
It’s important to note that law enforcement must still have reasonable suspicion or probable cause before requesting a breathalyzer test.
Contact a Charleston DUI Defense Lawyer
Under South Carolina’s implied consent law, your license will be suspended if you refuse a breathalyzer test during a DUI stop. The penalties for a DUI conviction can include steep fines and even jail time.
If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, it is crucial to contact an experienced attorney for help as soon as possible.