Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
Speak with one of our attorneys today.

Breath test refusal will cost driver more money in 2018

A driver's refusal to submit to a blood or breath test for suspected drunk driving may be profitable for Pennsylvania police. Effective January 11th, convicted drunk drivers will have to pay a restoration fee for their license if they refused these tests. This is another important reason to have an effective criminal defense against drunk driving charges when accused of these types of offenses.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the police cannot obtain blood samples without a warrant or driver's consent. In response, Senate Bill 553 was passed, which imposed these restoration fees in addition to making other changes to Pennsylvania's DUI laws.

Under this law, convicted drivers will have to pay a restoration fees of $500 for the first time that a test is refused. This fine increases to $1,000 for the second time and $2,000 for the third and any subsequent refusals. Police officers must inform suspected drunk drivers of these fees when they pull them over and attempt to conduct these tests.

Before this law was enacted, the average restoration fee was only $70.00. The new fees will be particularly costly for lower income drivers, especially when it is added to court costs and other fines that are assessed upon convicted drivers.

Mothers against Drunk Driving supported this change because it allegedly deters suspected drunk drivers from refusing alcohol tests. MADD argued that this law helps stop drunk motorists from continuing to drive and saves police the time and paperwork associated with requiring a warrant. According to MADD, the alcohol content in a suspected drunk driver's bloodstream decreases during the time spent on seeking a warrant. This can hamper a successful drunk driving prosecution.

One defense attorney argued that the new restoration fees may not withstand a legal challenge in court if the fee was intended to punish drivers instead of reimbursing the state for its prosecution costs. Assessing fines as punishment for an individual exercising his or her constitutional rights may be struck down by the courts, according to this attorney.

This is just one of the many penalties that can be forced upon those accused of drunk driving. Drunk driving allegations can have long-term financial, professional and personal consequences. An attorney can help challenge evidence, protect rights and assist in a plea negotiation where reasonable.

Source: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Fee for refusing breathalyzer test among new Pennsylvania laws for 2018," Matthew Santoni, Jan. 2, 2018

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

How Can We Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-935-0820
Fax: 724-779-6299
Map & Directions

Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.