How can the police charge me with a DUI when I refused the blood test or when my blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit?
Being Charged with a DUI
While DUI charges in Centre County are often based upon the amount of alcohol or controlled substances in a person’s blood, Pennsylvania law allows an officer to file a charge that alleges that the DUI suspect had consumed or ingested a sufficient amount of alcohol or controlled substance so that the suspect was rendered incapable of driving safely. In a case in which the DUI suspect refused to submit to a blood test, the officer would not have direct evidence of the amount of alcohol or controlled substance in the DUI suspect’s blood, but the officer could testify that the suspect’s behavior, such as poor driving, poor dexterity, slurring of speech, and red bloodshot eyes, combined with indicators of ingestion or consumption of drugs or alcohol, evidences that the suspect could not operate his or her vehicle safely. For example, a DUI suspect could be successfully prosecuted if the arresting officer testified that the DUI suspect had an odor of alcohol on his or her breath, had slurred speech, had difficulty standing, and had failed field sobriety tests. If the DUI suspect submitted to a blood test and the test result evidenced a level below the legal limit, the officer may still file a DUI charge that alleges that the suspect had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol that rendered the person incapable of safely driving. Basically, the officer is claiming that the person, despite being under the legal limit, was still too drunk to drive safely. With regard to drug cases, an officer may charge a person with DUI for being under the influence of marijuana if the officer smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, saw a marijuana pipe in the vehicle’s console, noticed the suspect’s bloodshot eyes, and the suspect failed field sobriety tests. While DUI cases involving blood test results are more difficult for a defense lawyer to successfully litigate, a person can be charged and convicted of DUI even if they refuse the blood test.