Refusal of DUI Testing in DC

There are legal defenses available to anyone who is facing potential penalties for refusal of DUI testing in DC. When a person is arrested by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence then they are taken back to a police station and read a form called an implied consent form. An experienced drunk driving attorney could help someone defend their rights by seeking out possible arguments under the protection of the law. Allow an attorney to fight for your rights.

Understanding the Role of an Implied Consent Form

An implied consent form tells the person what their obligations are under DC law to provide a sample of their breath, blood or urine for chemical testing in their DUI case. It states that by driving on a DC street, a person is implicitly giving their consent to provide such a sample upon request when there is a suspicion that they are driving under the influence. But a person is also informed that they do have the right to refuse to provide that sample thereby withdrawing that consent in most situations.

A person does not have to give a reason or justification for refusing to give a breath test, they can simply check the box that they are refusing to give a breath test but that person will be informed of certain consequences that may face as a result of their refusal. Those consequences include a mandatory one-year revocation of the suspect’s driving privileges either their driving privileges in DC if they are a non-DC licensee or their driving privileges everywhere if they are a DC licensee.

A person would also be notified that refusing to give a breath test can be used as evidence against the person at their trial. That means that if the person refuses to give a sample for testing then that refusal can be argued by the prosecutor in what is called the driver’s consciousness of guilt.

Acceptable Reasons for DUI Test Refusal

If a person can weigh out a well-documented and reasonable religious opposition to providing such a sample, that may be accepted as an acceptable exemption for refusal of DUI testing in DC. This means the person would not face the associated consequences of that refusal. There could also be many other arguments for why a person refuses to give a breath test.

A person may refuse to give a breath test because they do not trust the results of breath testing and that could be a completely justified opposition of breath testing because in the recent past there had been a problem with the reliability and the accuracy of the DC breath testing system.

People can have a number of different reasons for why they may not trust or may not want to provide a sample for testing but under DC law, the only accepted justification that would allow a person to legally withdraw consent to provide a chemical test is the religious exception.

Justifying the Refusal of a Blood Test

The justifiable reasons for refusing a blood test after being arrested for driving under the influence consists mostly of a religious exemption. If a person has a reasonable religious opposition to providing a sample of blood then that is considered to be a legitimate reason to withdraw a consent.

What is the Role of Consent for Testing?

In general, police officers do not give a person a choice as far as which chemical test they will be using and are often not required by DC law to give a person a choice. They are only required to inform a person of their implied consent obligations and give that person the ability to consent or withdraw consent to submit a sample. For the most part, police officers will use breath testing because that is the easier form of testing for the police.

Blood testing is typically only used in situations where a suspected DUI resulted in an accident which then resulted in someone being injured. In those situations, a person has no ability to refuse to give a blood test except in a situation where the driver had a religious objection to providing a blood test.

Defining Consciousness of Guilt

Consciousness of guilt means that the prosecutors can argue that the reason for the refusal of DUI testing in DC was because that driver knew they were intoxicated and did not want to provide the evidence. That is not a mandatory presumption that needs to be made. However, it is a way of informing a driver that that is an argument that could be made when faced with consequences of test refusal. Following an arrest, it can be critical to speak with an attorney.