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Pennsylvania drunk driving: Are breath tests mandatory?

Pennsylvania residents who are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol may be pulled over by police. When this happens, they are likely to be asked to submit to breath tests. When that time comes, they'll have a choice to make: to blow or not to blow. Are breath tests in drunk driving cases mandatory?

Technically, when one obtains a driver's license, he or she agrees to implied consent laws. This means that he or she agrees to cooperate with police or face administrative consequences -- such as the loss or suspension of driving privileges. Cooperating with police is generally a good idea, but this does not mean that one has to submit to a breath test when asked. Everyone has the right to refuse, and there may be a benefit to refusing. 

Here's the deal with breath tests: they can be wildly inaccurate. If the machines are not cleaned or properly maintained, they can give out false readings. Trying to prove that a reading was inaccurate is not always an easy feat. 

So, should one refuse? At the end of the day, that is a very personal decision, as there are consequences either way. Refusing does not mean one will escape arrest and prosecution, but it will give prosecution one less piece of evidence in one's case. Pennsylvania residents who are facing drunk driving charges can turn to legal counsel who will be able to guide them through their criminal court and administrative proceedings. With help, steps to achieve the best possible outcome can be taken. 

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?", Accessed on April 18, 2018

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