How can I be charged with driving under the influence when I refused the chemical test?

Many people mistakenly believe that they can avoid Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence charges if they refuse a chemical test, be it a breath or blood test, that is used by the police to determine alcohol concentration. Most DUI charges are based upon the level of alcohol or drugs in a person's system, and the prosecution uses the results of the chemical test to prove the presence and precise concentration of drugs or alcohol in a person's system.

General Impairment Driving Under the Influence Charges

There are also DUI charges that do not require evidence of a specific level of drugs or alcohol concentrations, and these laws are often referred to as General Impairment DUIs. With regard to alcohol, section 3802(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code prohibits a person from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle if the person has consumed enough alcohol that the person has been rendered incapable of safe driving. Simply stated, this charge is basically alleges that the person was too drunk to drive safely.

With regard to drugs, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(d)(2) prohibits a person from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control while under the influence of a drugs or combination of drugs to a degree that impairs the person's ability to drive. Section 3802(d)(3) prohibits a person from being under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol to an extent that the person is impaired. It should be noted that the "drugs" can be both legal and illegal drugs, meaning that a person can be charged with DUI for driving after taking prescribed medications.