Criminal Defense Attorney Columbia, South Carolina

The Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test: A DUI Attorney Discusses

South Carolina DUI attorneyBeing arrested and charged with a DUI can have a serious impact on your life. Not only could you face jail time and have your driving privileges suspended, a DUI can result in higher insurance premiums and can affect your ability to find and keep employment. 

If you have been pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, one way law enforcement officers will determine your level of intoxication is by conducting a breath test. In South Carolina, a driver is considered impaired with a blood alcohol limit (BAC) of 0.08 or above. If a breath test finds your BAC to be at this level or higher, you will be arrested and booked on a DUI charge. You do have the option to refuse a breath test. However, it comes with significant legal consequences. 

What are the consequences?

Many people suspected of drunk driving believe that not giving police any self-incriminating evidence will spare them further legal trouble. In many cases, they may be right. However, under South Carolina’s implied consent law (Section 56-5-2950), you are obligated to take a breathalyzer test if a law enforcement officer asks for one. Failure to do so can result in your driver’s license being suspended for six months for a first offense (and more for subsequent offenses). In addition, police can still place you under arrest and charge you with a DUI. 

Even if you take the breath test, your DUI charges can be fought, especially if an error was made during the process. Certain implications apply when law enforcement issues a breath test:  

  • Police must administer the breath test within two hours of an arrest. 
  • The breath test can only be collected by a person trained and certified under the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. 
  • A video recording of the breath test must be made. 
  • Police must wait 20 minutes before administering a breath test. 

Breathalyzer errors 

In some cases, breathalyzers are inaccurate. Initially, a simulator test must conclude a BAC reading between 0.076 and 0.084. Semiconductor sensor technology used in many breathalyzers is susceptible to false positives, according to BACtrack. Additionally, the results found in a breath test can be hindered by: 

  • Alcohol vapors from certain mouthwashes, breath fresheners, and toothache medications 
  • Outdated batteries 
  • Software bugs and glitches 
  • Human error and poor attention to detail 
  • Inconsistent readings 
  • Fumes emitted from external sources 

Facing DUI charges in South Carolina? Contact a lawyer today 

Whether or not you have refused a breath test, the odds could be against you. If you are facing DUI charges, you need an attorney on your side who understands how the system works. Attorney Matt Bodman has seen these types of cases many times. Not only is he a former prosecutor, he has successfully represented defendants in DUI cases.  

Don’t hesitate to discuss your matter with a DUI lawyer. Attorney Matt Bodman will thoroughly review your case and work tirelessly to build a strong defense. Contact him today to learn more. 

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