The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

To Breathalyze or Not to Breathalyze?

Two drunk drivers were taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police yesterday after crashing into each other. 

The alleged perpetrators, Kiya Hughes, 27, of Trenton and Bhaumik Patel, 20, of Piscataway were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Both suspects took part in a chemical blood test

The Pennsylvania legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent. Although penalties might be relatively minor for first time offenders at the lower limits of blood alcohol content, the penalties do become more severe for repeat offenders.

And the penalties can be harsher when the blood alcohol content is higher or where the suspect is not a first-time offender. 

In Sunday's case, both drivers submitted to chemical testing to determine blood alcohol content. There are many questions surrounding the requirements to submit to such tests.  And while there will always be some PA DUI attorneys who say that a suspect in a drunk driving case should never submit to any breathalyzer test, such advice could be incredibly problematic. Different PA DUI attorneys have different methods of handling their cases. And while some might feel that breathalyzer or chemical evidence could be harmful, the refusal to submit to these tests could be harmful as well. 

As of February 2004, breath or chemical testing may be required for individuals who are arrested for driving when their license has already been suspended due to a DUI related incident. 

Furthermore, drivers who refuse to submit to a breath or chemical testing will be subject to the penalties reserved for the highest blood-alcohol content categories. This means it would automatically subject these drivers to higher penalties. 

Although a breathalyzer test may be incriminating, it is not necessarily definitive. PA DUI attorneys are skilled at handling breathalyzer evidence and many know how to get a suspected DUI driver lighter penalties, even if the driver has taken and failed a breathalyzer test. As we'll discuss in tomorrow's post, breathalyzer tests aren't always accurate and several cases in Washington D.C. have been found to be some breathalyzers to be flawed.

Related Resources