What does Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law Entail?

duiIn the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, driving on the state’s roads means you are adhering to the rules of the road, including a law referred to as “implied consent.” What that means is that just as you’re expected to follow speed limits and other driving laws, if you’re pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) you are legally required to submit to a blood test, Breathalyzer test or urine test as requested by law enforcement.

The implied consent regulations regarding those tests are fairly strict for both the police and for drivers: for the driver, failing to comply can mean the loss of your license, even if it turns out you weren’t drinking at all. An officer is expected to request the test within two hours of having pulled you over, and a breath test can’t be requested until the officer has been observing you for at least 20 minutes. The police officer is also required to advise you of the fact that your license can be suspended if you turn down the test, whether you are convicted of DUI or not.

Implied consent does not only apply to people who are actually driving. A police officer can ask a person who is in physical control of a vehicle to take a test, even if the vehicle isn’t actually turned on – the point of this rule is that the driver could operate the vehicle and therefore represents a risk.

There is a lot of confusion as to whether it is better to submit to chemical tests, as well as field sobriety tests. Though there is no harm and some advantage to refusing a field sobriety test, which is not covered under implied consent, it is never wise to turn down a chemical test. You can definitively be punished for turning down a Breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test if the officer requests it, even if you’ve done nothing wrong: simply refusing the test is a crime. If the test turns up negative, you will be fine. More importantly, if it is positive then having taken the test won’t make your consequences any more severe, while having turned down a chemical test and being convicted of DUI results in higher penalties.

Being accused of DUI is a frightening and intimidating experience. If this has happened to you, contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you get the best result possible.