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DUI Breathalyzer Refusal

If you know anyone who’s been pulled over for drunk driving, you have likely heard plenty of advice on what to do and not to do. Questions are spawned on whether you should refuse the SFST’s or a Preliminary Breathalyzer Test (PBT) at road side. You may be tempted to believe there is some “silver-bullet” to getting off the hook — if you don’t take the test, perhaps you can be allowed to take another chemical DUI test that you would be more likely to pass, or maybe you just won’t be arrested. And there are options. As you read on our website, you will learn more about this process. But make no mistake: this is a vast and complicated body of law, one which requires procedural and substantive legal expertise to truly understand and properly advise you.

DUI/ Refusal law just isn’t overall that simple. Whether you’re already dealing with the complications of having been arrested for a DUI and/or Refusal, or are at a police station struggling with the decision on whether to take a chemical breath test, Archambault Law can help. Call Attorney Archambault and ask him what you should do. We encourage you to read below and call us immediately for assistance. Attorney Archambault is here to help.

Why are you Asked to Submit to a Breathalyzer?

Breathalyzer tests are administered to vehicle operators who have been pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving. A police officer may have you take first take other tests in the field after noticing obvious signs of intoxication, from initial vehicle operation, to observing indicia of intoxication on his/her first contact with you, to any SFST’s that are subsequently administered, and any PBT that is taken. Collectively, this indicia of intoxication can include a MVA, incomprehensible, slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes, the potent smell of alcohol on your clothes or about your breath and the SFST and PBT. All of this evidence comes together to show that a person was intoxicated to a degree that left them incapable of safely operating a vehicle. It’s a lot to take in.In the field, or roadside, a police officer is doing their job in trying to get a drunk driver off the road. Police officers are passionate about what they do. The tests they use and data collecte give police the hard data they need to show whether you are over the legal BAC, or blood alcohol concentration limit.

In the end, the evidence the police have to arrest you comes down to the officer’s statements, any third-party eyewitness testimony, any results of tests taken after you’ve been pulled over or at the police station and any other evidence gathered by the arresting officer(s). Clients should be aware that data and evidence created from a breathalyzer or other chemical test may seem more credible in court than eyewitness information, which is why police are eager to have you take the SFST’s, PBT and ultimately the chemical test at the station on the latest high-tech machine, the Intoxilyzer 9000.

Clearly, you need competent and experienced legal representation to defend yourself.Attorney Archambault is known for his direct, honest style in telling you it “like it is,” so that you understand your case and what must be done. He has 100’s of client testimonials from people who were very happy that he honestly and zealously advocated for their best outcome.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Rhode Island?

While there are other chemical tests to determine BAC, such as blood or breath, the only one that can be administered at roadside is the PBT. This test is inadmissible by statute in court; however, it can be very telling in the field for the officer to determine whether you’ve had too much to drink, or ultimately whether to arrest you or not.

In truth, Rhode Island drivers take part in implied consent when they earn their driver’s licenses and operate their vehicles on the state’s roads. This is because your driver’s license is a “privilege,” not a constitutional right. Accordingly, your agreement to use your license is a simultaneous agreement to submit to a chemical DUI test (breathalyzer). It is possible to refuse a PBT. It is equally possible to refuse roadside SFST’s. So while saying no to a PBT is an option, it’s not necessarily an easy choice. Call Attorney Archambault today and he will explain more on these laws.

What Happens after I Refuse?

As explained above, based on “implied consent,” you agree to takes theses tests if asked to do so by law enforcement. Once you refuse, your license will likely be suspended until your case is resolved. This also means that you are going to court. Fortunately, Attorney Archambault was instrumental in creating the Rhode Island DUI/Refusal “hardship law,” which with the right advocacy and work, can get you a provisional license while your case is pending, which would allow you to commute to and from work or school.

If you take a gamble on refusing the breathalyzer test and are found guilty of driving under the influence, sentencing consequences can be extreme. This is why it is critical to have the best legal defense that you can. It’s important to weigh the consequences of your decision before you say no. While the implied consent law is applicable, saying no to a chemical test doesn’t automatically lead to a guilty plea or create a mark on on your driving or criminal record. You have the right to a civil hearing at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal (RITT), and your case will proceed there fairly rapidly and with license suspension consequences. It is critical to have legal representation before the RITT court dates so that you can understand what will happen, and then present your best defense, to include advocacy for a hardship license. This area of law is complex, and takes a skilled legal advocate to navigate. Attorney Archambault is that attorney.

Potential Consequences

In Rhode Island, there is fallout after declining a chemical test. Regardless of whether you are found ultimately guilty of a DUI, a Refusal charge often comes with all or a combination of the following:

  • Community service hours
  • Required completion of alcohol school or substance abuse counseling
  • Substantial penalties and fees
  • License suspension (Which can be short or very long, and varies as to whether you get a “Hardship” license)
  • And higher insurance costs and requirements (SR-22 on file)

The truth is, consequences on either side of a DUI case are complicated and there’s no easy way out or back door to immediate freedom. If this is your first DUI offense, the benefit of refusing a breathalyzer may be outweighed by the complexity of license suspension and court proceedings for both the DUI charges and civil disputes. If you’ve been charged before within 5 yrs with DUI/Refusal, there are extreme consequences with increased penalties upon plea or conviction. And even if it’s been more than 5 yrs since you had a DUI or Refusal charge, there will most assuredly be “enhancements” to your loss of license and/or jail time.

This is why you need a skilled legal advocate to navigate the system and make your best defense. Call Attorney Archambault today for a free consultation to review your case. You’ll be happy you did!

Ever been pulled over for a DUI / DWI call Archambault Law Office for help.Contact Us Now