The idea behind a drunk driving conviction might seem simple. If it is proven that someone's blood alcohol content was above the legal limit while driving, he or she could be charged with and convicted of drunk driving in Pennsylvania, as well as other states. But the details that go into a DUI arrest, charge, and conviction are actually quite complicated.
One such complicated detail within states' DUI laws is whether it is illegal to refuse to take a breath test during an impaired driving investigation. It is a legal area of such high and important concern that the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the criminal law matter.
The Supreme Court is reviewing the legal issue based on out-of-state DUI cases, but the ruling that comes from the court will clarify the breath test refusal law for all states in the U.S. Specifically, the matter of review is this, according to USA Today: "Can states charge motorists with a crime for refusing to take a breath test on suspicion of drunk driving when police lack a warrant?"
Perhaps part of the argument against making a breath test refusal without a warrant a crime is that the court has already ruled that blood tests cannot be demanded and conducted without a warrant. Is it the kind of test or the testing of someone without a warrant in general that violates a person's privacy?
Pennsylvania laws regarding breath test refusal are complicated in their own right. Simply put, if you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, refusing to give a breath test will result in at least a 1-year driver's license suspension. It is part of what is called the implied consent law.
It is easy in the face of a DUI investigation and arrest to question what is happening and what your rights are. Do not hesitate to talk to a criminal defense lawyer in order to get answers and feel legally protected.