How does a DUI refusal of the breath test affect my case?
Obviously this topic comes up quite a bit so here is the very basic rundown:
(1) Administratively (DOL) you could lose your license up to one year
(2) If you are convicted of a DUI refusal in your criminal case and the jury concludes you actually refused, then the DOL will suspend your license for 2 years (giving you credit for any time you were previously suspended for the same offense administratively)
(3) A conviction for DUI with the refusal enhancement raises the mandatory minimum jail sentence from 1 to 2 days and increases the mandatory fine by $150
(4) much case law has been made about the admissibility of a refusal to show a consciousness of guilt and it is very likely the judge in your case will allow the refusal in for that purpose (i.e., the prosecutor could argue to the jury the reason you refused the breath test was because you knew you would blow over the limit). That argument is ripe for absolution by the defense as there are many reasons people may not take a breath test, but the government will be allowed to argue it nevertheless.
Note if you refuse a breath test, the suspension (if ultimately there is one) does not begin immediately, it would begin 60 days from the date of the arrest if you did not ask for an administrative hearing with the DOL and would likely happen after 60 days if you did ask for a hearing (as hearings administratively usually take place outside of the 60 day window from the date of arrest). So if an officer/trooper/deputy told you that if you didn't blow you would lose your license immediately, that was an outright fabrication, in a likely attempt to coerce you into taking a breath test.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, call us today (425) 398-4323. We are the Seattle DUI Pros, noted as some the best Kirkland DUI Attorneys.