If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under influence (DUI), the officer may request you to take a number of sobriety tests. These may include the request to walk a straight line, balance on one leg or take a Breathalyzer test. Law enforcement officers use these tests to determine if you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
While you can refuse to yield to any of these tests, it is important to understand the consequences under the South Carolina Implied Consent law. Besides, the officer may use the information already in their possession, as well as their observations, to decide whether to arrest you or not.
Understanding South Carolina implied consent law
Driving a motor vehicle in the state of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right. According to the state’s implied consent law, you automatically give consent to a blood, breath or urine test for purposes of establishing your blood alcohol content (BAC) level when you obtain a driver’s license. The officer will request you to take the Breathalyzer test if they have reasonable cause to believe you are drunk driving.
What happens if you refuse to submit to the breath test?
Your driver’s license will be suspended on the spot for a period of six months if you refuse to yield to a Breathalyzer test. If this is your second refusal, then your driver’s license will be suspended for nine months. And if it is your third refusal, the suspension will last for 12 months. Remember, these are administrative suspensions that will be added to any driver’s license suspension you will receive should you be convicted of DUI.
Besides the license suspension, you will also be required to sign up for the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. This program involves assessment for alcohol and/or drug dependency as well as ongoing treatment. It takes approximately 12 months to complete this program and it can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 to complete.
If you have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under influence, it is important that you understand the implications of refusing to take the Breathalyzer test.