Friday, November 16, 2012

DUI v. Refusal

Most people know it is against the law to refuse a breath or blood test when you are arrested for a DUI.  Do you know the differences between being convicted of a DUI v. a refusal?

A first DUI offense is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $250 to $2500 (mandatory $250 fine) and up to 12 months in jail.  There are also stricter punishments for elevated levels of BAC.  Further, you lose your license for 1 year.  As of July 1, 2012 in order to get a restricted license, you MUST have ignition interlock installed in your car.  Finally, you must attend VASAP. 

A first refusal is a non-criminal violation and is a civil penalty.  There may or may not be a fine attached with the refusal.  Your license will be suspended for a year, without the possibility of a restricted license. 

A DUI and a refusal and their respective consequences are extremely different.  Keep in mind that by refusing a blood or breath test, it does not guarantee that you will not be convicted of a DUI as well.  Finally, if you are convicted of both DUI and refusal, your license suspensions (1 year for each) run consecutively, not concurrently.