I Submitted to a BAC Test, but the Cop Says I Didn't. What do I do?

A well-trained Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney with experience in DUI defense is your best option for assistance in this situation.

This is a difficult place to be in, because it’s hard to determine if you really refused or not. You could have misunderstood the request or asked to take a different test, and the cop misunderstood. You could have been impaired by an injury or the alcohol or drugs, or unconscious. You could have had a valid reason related to a medical condition for refusing, or maybe were reluctant, and that hesitation was seen as a refusal. It’s even possible that the cop wasn’t clear in what he was asking you to do, failed to tell you that it was required and what the consequences were, or even failed to tell another officer that he had not asked you yet to take it.

When a police officer decides you have refused to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine the concentration of alcohol in your blood (otherwise known as your BAC), he sends paperwork to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The paperwork is a request that PennDOT suspends your driver’s license for a year. PennDOT will then send you a notice stating that you are required to hand in your license. It will also say that you have 10 days to appeal the suspension. It will give you provisional driving privileges for 30 days.

When you get that letter, it’s your cue to hire a good attorney experienced in handling DUI cases. The lawyer will most likely file an immediate appeal, saying that the refusal was improper. The appeal will tell the court that you did not refuse to take the test, and you will get a hearing date. The appeal must be filed within 10 days. If you miss this date for any reason, your license will be suspended without recourse.

You won’t have to hand your driver’s license in to the state once the appeal is filed. The hearing you’re granted will be set for a month or two down the road. At the hearing, the judge at the magistrate court will be there, as well as an attorney representing PennDOT. In addition, the cop who made the arrest will be in attendance, and the person who tried to administer the BAC testing, as well as you and your attorney. The judge will hear both sides, and decide if you did or did not refuse the test.

Even if the judge decides against you, the hearing is helpful to you. You are giving yourself, and your lawyer, the opportunity to see and review any evidence the state plans to use against you, including the police officer’s report. You will be able to prepare for your DMV hearing and better understand the case the state has against you. Though you might not succeed in retaining your license and preventing the suspension, you will be well-prepared to defend yourself against the DUI charges you still face.

More About BAC Tests and Implied Consent

Pennsylvania has an “implied consent” law, which means that you are required to take blood and breath tests when an officer asks. You gave implied consent when you signed to get your license; you agreed to submit to the tests when requested. A refusal can be seen as another indication that you were driving drunk.

Have you been accused of refusing a blood, breath, or urine test? Do you need to set up a DMV hearing right away? If so, you require the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who has previously handled DMV hearings. Sean Logue and his Criminal Defense team have successfully represented hundreds of clients faced with DUI charges. Logue Law Group handles cases in Southwestern PA, West Virginia, and Ohio. Call for a free consultation at (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210, or contact us online.