Getting pulled over by the police and asking to do a breathalyzer test in Utah can be scary. This is especially true if an officer has never stopped you. Utah has stringent laws punishing those found driving under the influence of alcohol. You may feel tempted to refuse a breathalyzer test at this point, thinking it would be easier to avoid a DUI conviction. However, this is not the case in Utah. Our Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney Darwin Overson explains what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer in Utah.
What Will Happen if I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Utah?
Utah has a strict policy when it comes to driving under the influence charges. To provide you with some perspective, the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit in Utah is the lowest in the US, with only 0.05%. Despite Utah’s stringent DUI laws, there have been thousands of cases where people get pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving.
When the police pull you over under DUI suspicion, they will ask you several questions, followed by a sobriety field test. As part of their investigation, the police officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. Typically, you will be asked to blow into a device that will read your breath’s alcohol concentration. If the machine reads more than 0.05% BAC, you will be charged with DUI.
When asked to perform a breathalyzer test, you have two options: do the test or refuse it. However, the choice you make has different consequences. In Utah, you are expected to submit to the breathalyzer test without any sign of resistance. Under Utah law, driving a vehicle means you implicitly submit yourself to a chemical test (blood, urine, or breath) to determine whether there is alcohol in your system.
It is essential to follow Utah’s traffic laws, especially when it comes to DUI and testing. If you refuse a breathalyzer test during a DUI, you may face severe consequences.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer in Utah?
You may face several penalties if you refuse a breathalyzer test in Utah. Once you tell the police officer you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be suspended automatically. You may lose your driving privileges for up to eighteen months after a first breathalyzer refusal. If you refuse a second time, the suspension of your driver’s license can increase to three years.
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a provisional license while your suspension is in place. In other words, you are not allowed to drive another car legally for the entirety of your suspension. This can be extremely challenging, especially if you depend on your vehicle to drive to and from work, take your kids to school, and do your everyday chores.
If you decide to drive while your suspension is in place, you may face severe consequences which may include additional suspension time, steep fines, and jail time
In addition to the suspension of your driver’s license, you can have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. An IID is a device that works similarly to a breathalyzer. You will be required to blow into your IID before you can start your car. If the device detects any trace of alcohol, your car will not turn on.
If you have an IID installed in your car, it means you are restricted from drinking and driving. Furthermore, you are not allowed to drive another person’s car. If you are a restricted driver and get caught driving another person’s car while under the effects of alcohol, you will face severe consequences.
Do I Need an Attorney if I Refused a Breathalyzer in Utah?
As we mentioned, when you refuse a breathalyzer test during a DUI, the police officer will immediately suspend your driver’s license. However, you can request a driver’s license division hearing with Utah’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and appeal your driver’s license suspension. It is essential to have competent legal representation by your side at all times during your appeal.
During your appeal, your Utah DUI defense attorney can help you fight to get your license back. At this point, you have the right to challenge any evidence collected against you. In Utah, unlike in many other states, the breathalyzer results or its refusal can be used against you. However, the police officer who performed your breathalyzer test must follow specific rules.
First, the police officer who pulled you over and asked to perform the breathalyzer test must be trained and certified. If the police officer is not authorized to perform a breathalyzer test, your charges may be dropped.
There are also constitutional matters that need to be considered carefully. A police officer can pull you over only if they have probable cause to believe you are under the effects of alcohol. Without probable cause, a police officer cannot pull you over and ask you to do a sobriety field test. Thus, the evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights cannot be admitted as evidence against you.
Your attorney can also help you challenge the results from the breathalyzer machine. There have been many instances where inaccurate, uncalibrated breathalyzers yield questionable results. Your attorney can challenge the breathalyzer result and help the court rule out its readings as evidence. Whether you refused or complied with a breathalyzer test, a Utah DUI attorney can help you fight the charges against you and make sure your due process is protected.
Utah DUI Defense Attorneys Handling Breathalyzer Refusal Cases
Facing Utah’s criminal justice system can be scary, challenging, and overwhelming. This is especially true if you are facing DUI charges. However, you don’t have to go through this moment alone. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers at the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, we can help you fight against your charges after refusing a breathalyzer test. Call our law offices today and schedule your free, confidential consultation. Our phone number is (801) 758-2287.