There is nothing scarier than facing a DUI charge for many drivers. Unfortunately, this fear tends to get the best of many people, leading them to take a plea deal for charges that are supported by very little evidence.

A good example of this is when the DUI arrest is based off officer observations alone, not a chemical test like a blood, breath, or urine test. Many people feel that failing a subjective “field sobriety test” or simply smelling like alcohol is enough for the charges to stick in a court of law. This is not always true. A Philadelphia DUI attorney is able to build a case based on the facts that may refute the officers’ assertion of your intoxication. If law enforcement does not even attempt to subject you to a test, a lawyer may be able to poke holes in the prosecution’s story of the events surrounding your arrest.

Still, this does not mean that you cannot be arrested without the evidence of a blood, breath, or urine test. Other factors often go into an officer’s decision to arrest you or not. Other evidence that may be used as probable cause for a DUI arrest include:

  • Reports of erratic driving behaviors
  • Evidence of swerving, speeding, driving too slowly, failing to stop, failing to yield, and any other indications of drunk driving
  • Red or blurry eyes
  • Smell of alcohol on your breath
  • Failure of field sobriety tests, including walking in a straight line, touching your finger to your nose, standing on one leg, or reciting the alphabet (or some other speech test)
  • Pupil dilation
  • Contextual clues (such as seeing you leave a bar after drinking and then getting in the car)

While this evidence can be used to build a case for a DUI conviction, they may not be enough alone.

Does This Mean I Should Refuse a Chemical Test?

Not necessarily. Although the above evidence is not always enough for a conviction, refusing the blood, breath, or urine test will not guarantee that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict. Plus, the prosecution often uses the refusal of a chemical test as evidence that you thought that you could not pass, indicating you were, in fact, drunk.

In addition, refusing a chemical test automatically triggers the implied consent laws in Pennsylvania. You could lose your license for a year and face additional penalties whether or not you are ultimately convicted of a DUI. Often, the consequences of a refusal are worse than they may have been if you consented to a chemical test, especially in sentencing, as judges do not look kindly on refusals.

You do generally have the right to refuse if you so wish, but be aware of the potential consequences of either choice. Ultimately, the decision to submit to a chemical test or not is one you must personally weigh, but in either case, you should consult a DUI lawyer right away in order to build a defense against the evidence in question, whatever it is. If you are arrested for a DUI, call Philadelphia DUI attorney Michael Fienman for a free legal consultation on your case at (215) 839-9529 as soon as possible. He may be able to analyze your case and decide on the most effective strategy to fight the charges.

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