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DUI refusal in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, any person who an officer believes is driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is required to submit to chemical testing to determine if the person has alcohol or controlled substance in his blood and, if so, how much alcohol or controlled substance. If that person refuses to submit to the chemical testing, he can receive an increased penalty, if convicted, for the DUI and the refusal.

For instance, a person convicted of a first offense DUI and who has a B.A.C. of .08%- <.10%does not face any mandatory minimum time of incarceration. If the person with a similar B.A.C. is convicted of a second offense that person faces a mandatory minimum incarceration of five days. If that person is convicted of a third offense and has the same range of B.A.C., he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten days. Compare that with someone who refuses chemical testing and the mandatory minimum sentences are as follows: 1st conviction w/ refusal - 72 hours; 2nd conviction w/refusal - 90 days; 3rd conviction w/refusal - one year.

In order to prove that thee accused has refused to submit to chemical testing, the district attorney must first prove that the arresting officer actually read the implied consent warning to the accused prior to chemical testing. If the officer failed to read the implied consent warning to the accused, Pennsylvania courts have held that the accused cannot be convicted of refusing chemical testing. If the officer read the implied consent warning, the district attorney must prove that the accused refused the chemical testing either explicitly (stating he refused chemical testing and signing the warning next to the refusal line) or implicitly (refusing based on behavior).

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