As with most legal issues, the best answer is never as simple as a clear yes or no. As a general rule if you’ve never had a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) in the past, there is no reason to refuse to give blood and consent to a blood test. In Pennsylvania the refusal to give consent to give blood, although within your constitutional rights, will result in an automatic one (1) year loss of your driver’s license. For many people, that loss of license is an overwhelming loss best avoided. When you add to this that fact that the effects of a first offense DUI are relatively small, because of programs like ARD (accelerated rehabilitative disposition) available in most cases, to keep you out of jail an minimize any license suspension for the DUI itself, refusing a blood test and losing your license for an additional year does not bring any real benefit, and at a high cost.
Your situation is very different if you have had another drunk driving offence in the past ten years, and you suspect that you might not pass a blood test. For a second, and subsequent DUI offence, the consequences of conviction are very severe: loss of your driver’s license and time in jail. You have a right to a jury trial and the decision to consent to provide a blood sample may seriously hinder your ability to defend yourself in court. Put another way, you’re in a bad situation when pulled over for a possible second or subsequent drunk driving offence and voluntarily providing a blood sample may only make it worse.
If you are accused of a crime, you should discuss your situation with experienced criminal defense counsel. At Amori & Associates, LLC, criminal defense attorney Robert A. Saurman would be happy to discuss your legal situation. Please contact Amori & Associates at (570) 421-1406 for a no obligation consultation.