A law enforcement officer in Charleston, South Carolina, may pull you over if they suspect that you are driving under the influence (DUI). During this stop, they may ask you to take a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Wondering if you can refuse the test? Also, what happens if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Charleston?
Refusing a breathalyzer test can have serious consequences, including possibly suspending your driver’s license, fines, and even imprisonment. It’s essential to understand your rights and legal options if you find yourself in such a situation.
If you’ve been charged with DUI in Charleston or have refused to take a breathalyzer test, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced Charleston DUI lawyer from the Charleston DUI Guy Law Firm as soon as possible.
Our capable and qualified DUI attorneys will help you understand your rights, protect your interests, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
What Is a Breathalyzer Test?
A breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath.
Law enforcement officers commonly use it to determine if a person is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. The test is usually administered by having the driver blow into a handheld device that analyzes their breath for alcohol content.
Implied Consent Law
In South Carolina, as in many states, drivers give their implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test when suspected of DUI. This means that by driving on the roads, you agree to take a breathalyzer test if a police officer suspects you of DUI.
You can face administrative and criminal penalties if you refuse to take the test.
Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer Test
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Charleston, the police officer will confiscate your driver’s license. The suspension can last longer if you have prior DUI convictions or are under 21.
The officer will then report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), stating that you refused to take the test. Your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. Depending on your prior DUI history, the suspension could last longer.
What Happens If I Take The Breath Test In South Carolina?
If you’re pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina and decide to take the breath test, there are a few possible outcomes.
- Your BAC is below the legal limit: If your BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%, you will not be charged with DUI, and you can continue on your way.
- Your BAC is above the legal limit: If your BAC is above the legal limit, you will be charged with DUI. This charge carries significant penalties, including fines, license suspension, and jail time.
- Your BAC is close to the legal limit: If your BAC is close to the legal limit, you may be charged with DUI at the discretion of the officer and prosecutor.
It’s important to note that even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still be charged with DUI if the officer believes you were driving under the influence of drugs or other substances (based on your driving).
Moreover, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, you can still be charged with DUI based on other evidence, such as field sobriety tests and officer observations.
Administrative Penalties for Refusal
In Charleston, South Carolina, refusing a breathalyzer test carries serious penalties:
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you may lose your driving privileges. The length of the suspension can vary depending on your prior DUI history.
For a first offense, your license may be suspended for 90 days. In case of a second or subsequent offense, the suspension can be longer.
Ignition Interlock Device
In addition to license suspension, the DMV may require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID device is installed in your car and requires you to blow into it to start the car.
If the device detects alcohol on your breath, the car will not start. The IID is usually required for a period after your license is reinstated.
Criminal Penalties for Refusal
In addition to the administrative penalties of a driver’s license suspension, refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Charleston, South Carolina, can also result in criminal penalties.
The criminal penalties for refusal to take a breathalyzer test in Charleston can include the following:
Being Charged With DUI
If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Charleston, you may still be charged with DUI. The police officer can use other evidence, such as your appearance, behavior, and performance on field sobriety tests, to establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence.
Penalties For DUI Conviction
The penalties can vary depending on your prior DUI history, including:
- Jail time
- License suspension
- Community service
- Mandatory DUI education programs
Legal Options For Defending Against Refusal Charges
Charleston, South Carolina, residents facing breathalyzer refusal charges have legal options for defending themselves, such as:
- Lack of probable cause: If the police officer didn’t have probable cause to stop you or suspect you of DUI, any evidence from the stop may be inadmissible in court.
- Inaccuracy of the breathalyzer test: Breathalyzer tests can be inaccurate for various reasons, such as improper calibration or use, and if you refused the test for this reason, your attorney may be able to defend your position.
- Failure to properly inform the suspect of the consequences of refusal: Before asking a suspect to take a breathalyzer test, the police officer must inform the suspect of the consequences. If the officer fails to do so, this can be used as a defense.
- Medical conditions or other factors: Certain medical conditions or other factors, such as acid reflux, can cause a breathalyzer test to produce inaccurate results. If you have a medical condition or other factors that could have affected the accuracy of the test (and you refused one for this reason), this can be used as a defense.
Reach Out To A Skilled Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney For The Help You Need!
You could face charges for refusing a breathalyzer test if you live in Charleston, South Carolina. In such a situation, you must speak with an experienced Charleston criminal defense attorney from the Charleston DUI Guy Law Firm without delay.
An experienced attorney from our firm can help you understand your legal options and work to protect your rights and interests.
Remember, time is of the essence when facing DUI and refusal charges.
The sooner you speak to our attorney, the better your chances of achieving a positive outcome in your case.
Contact our firm today and discuss your case with a Charleston DUI lawyer!