As attorneys who handle DUI charges, this is one of the most frequent questions we are asked. The answer, of course, depends on the situation, but there are some important things you need to know about your right to refuse the breathalyzer test and the consequences that you will face if you do not take the breath test.
First, it is a choice. You have the right to refuse the breath test, and the arresting officer is required to inform you of that fact. Refusing to perform field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer test is not considered disobeying a police command, and a refusal alone will not subject you to additional criminal charges. However, when you applied for your South Carolina drivers's license you gave your implied consent that you would submit to a breath test if asked by a police officer. Per South Carolina law, if you refuse the breath test your license is automatically suspended for six months and the officer will confiscate your South Carolina license immediately. Before your license can be reinstated, you must apply for South Carolina's Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). The cost of this program is $500 minimum and can be as much as $2,500 depending on your previous record.
However, you have the right to request an administrative hearing to appeal the license suspension. This must be done within 30 days of your suspension. Once the suspension is appealed, you usually can obtain a Temporary Alcohol License pending your appeal. When we help clients appeal their license suspensions they are usually driving again with a Temporary Alcohol License in about a week. If you do not appeal or lose the appeal, your license will be suspended for six months and you may be able to get a route restricted license during that time.
Why You Should Appeal Your Suspension
First, you can quickly get a temporary license with full driving privileges and no route restrictions. Second, if you win your appeal, which can and does happen, you'll have your full license restored and avoid the cost and hassle of ADSAP.
What Happens If I Take The Breathalyzer Test?
If you take the breath test and register a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.15 or higher, your license will be suspended for one month with the same ADSAP requirement. These suspensions can also be appealed. If you take the breath test and register anything above a 0.05 BAC, the State may have evidence that will give rise to an inference that your faculties to drive a motor vehicle were materially and appreciably impaired.
So, remember that you have a choice and that if your refuse, you very likely will not be without a driver's license for six months.
The law firm of Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC handles DUI charges in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach, North Charleston, Hanahan, Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and the surrounding areas. Give our Charleton DUI Attorneys a call today to discuss your case.