When you are suspected of drunk or impaired driving, you may be asked to take a chemical sobriety test, such as a urine, blood, or breathalyzer test.
It’s important to know your rights before submitting to a test. Once you are arrested, your Miranda Rights are invoked, meaning you have a right to speak to an attorney. If you can timely do so, you can speak to an attorney before your chemical tests. However, if you cannot speak to an attorney timely, and you refuse to take the test, this still counts as a legal refusal of a chemical test which can result in suspension of your license. Further, despite refusal, the police can still obtain search warrants which force you to comply with the chemical tests.
These chemical sobriety tests allow police to determine the amount of alcohol or a substance that you consumed. Unlike field sobriety tests, they are backed by science and can show exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels or the presence of a controlled dangerous substance in the body.
In order to ask for a driver to submit to a urine, blood, or breathalyzer test, a police officer must have reasonable grounds for believing that the driver is impaired. Breathalyzer tests are the most common form of chemical sobriety test. Most often, police officers ask you to take a breathalyzer test and/or a field sobriety test while you are pulled over, but you will likely be taken to the police station for a urine or blood test.
Louisiana’s implied consent law states that just by driving on a public road, you have consented to take chemical tests when requested after being arrested for DUI/DWI. While you can technically refuse to take a chemical sobriety test, you will face a penalty of an automatic license suspension.
The penalty of an automatic license suspension can be contested. If it is your first time refusing to submit to a chemical sobriety test, you will face a lesser penalty than someone who has done so multiple times. For your first unlawful refusal, you will face a 6 month license suspension, and for the second and following unlawful refusals, you may see your license taken away for two years.
If you appeal an automatic license suspension after an unlawful refusal, you can drive legally with a temporary license until the matter can be challenged in court. You have 30 days from the incident to appeal the suspension. If you contest the suspension and win, it can be dismissed.
A person who is reasonably suspected to be driving impaired may also be asked to take a field sobriety test. Even though you will be punished for refusing to submit to a chemical sobriety test, you can successfully refuse a standard field sobriety test without punishment. This is because field sobriety tests are failed or passed based on the judgment of the police officer, rather than being a scientific measurement like one of the chemical sobriety tests.
It’s important to know your rights as a citizen and during an arrest. Police officers most often tell you your Miranda rights, but they may not. It is required by law for police officers to read you the Miranda warnings when you are being arrested. Further, police are required to read you your miranda rights before they perform a breathalyzer test.
Your Miranda rights include:
If you were unjustly charged with a DUI or DWI, The Johnson Firm can help. Our goal is to reduce or completely eliminate charges as much we can. Our team diligently analyzes your case to help build a strong defense against your charges to get the best result possible.
With a strong lawyer by your side, you can have confidence in facing your DUI/DUI charge. Whether you are facing hefty fines or years of jail time, we will help you see a brighter future.
A first-time DWI or DUI offense is only a misdemeanor, as is a second offense. If it is your first offense, we can help to potentially reduce fines from $1,000 to a few hundred or less, and we will work to reduce jail time from months in jail to weeks, or no jail time at all. While there are instances where we cannot change penalties, we are here to get you a great result for your charge and avoid conviction if possible.
Our experienced team is a top choice in the Lake Charles area, and we will guide you on the path to success. There is no reason to fear the future, and no matter the circumstances at hand, we are here with you through it all.
Whether you have a question or want to schedule a consultation, The Johnson Firm would love to help you. Call our trusted team today at 337-427-8961 or send us a message to get in touch now!