Chemical Testing is the way that Police/Prosecutors prove that your BAC is over the limit.
When an officer pulls you over for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, he may ask you to submit to Chemical Testing. It is this Chemical Testing that will ultimately tell the officer how high your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is, so he/she will know how to charge your DUI violation.
In all matters in which the Commonwealth must prove your BAC, the results of breath and blood tests are admissible in evidence, provided that they were conducted by qualified persons and:
(1) For breath tests, a machine approved by the department of health was used and the test followed procedures prescribed jointly by the departments of health and transportation; or
(2) For blood and urine tests, the test was conducted by a clinical laboratory licensed by the health department using procedures and equipment prescribed by the department, or the test was conducted by a state police criminal lab.
Implied Consent Law
When you drive in Pennsylvania, you are deemed to have consented to chemical testing provided that a testing request is made by an officer who reasonably believes you are violating a DUI statute. This consent law is rooted in the long-standing principle that driving is a privilege and is therefor subject to such terms and conditions imposed by the legislature. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, that refusal is admissible in court.
Refusal of Testing
Not only will you face enhanced criminal penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testings, but also a refusal carries an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension is separate from your criminal DUI proceedings and must be dealt with in civil proceedings in a different court.
When an officer requests that you submit to chemical testing, he/she is required to warn you that a refusal will result in a suspension and, if convicted of the DUI, that your penalties may be enhanced. This warning is called an O’Connell Warning and comes with an interesting twist. Whenever you are arrested, an officer must advise you of your right to speak with an attorney. However, because a suspension for refusal is deemed a civil sanction, the arresting officer is required to advise you that you have no right to speak with an attorney before taking the test. Also, the reading of the O’Connell Warning is deemed waived if you prevent the officer from completing the reading or request that you be given a warnings form to read for yourself.
Duty of Hospital
A hospital MUST take your blood, regardless of your consent, if: you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and require ER attention, and if the officer has probable cause to believe the DUI statutes were violated. This power comes from statutes providing hospitals with civil and criminal immunity for the blood withdrawal.
At Morrow & Artim, we offer a no cost, no obligation review of your DUI or criminal law matter via a short telephone consult or an email reply. If both you and our firm agree that legal representation is required, an in-office appointment will be scheduled.Call Morrow & Artim today at 412-823-8003 to obtain the legal help that you deserve.