Tag Archives: statutory summary suspension

Many people worry about what to do if they are ever pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence. Whether you have had a few drinks or not, it is important to know what you have to do during a DUI stop and what you can refuse. Some DUI investigations are initiated because the officer suspects that the driver is driving under the influence. But others begin as a normal traffic stop, initiated for a minor traffic violation. Those ordinary traffic stops can quickly turn into a DUI investigation because of the time of day or night, the location of the stop, the smell of alcohol, or because of various other factors. Some officers simply presume that if you are driving past 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m., particularly on a weekend, that you must have consumed alcohol prior to driving.

If you are pulled over and the officer asks you if you have had anything to drink, you are now the subject of a DUI investigation. If the officer asks you to step out of the car, you must comply. However, if he then asks you to submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), you can refuse. And if you have consumed alcohol, you should refuse. While a PBT is not admissible at your DUI trial, PBT results can form the basis of an officer's probable cause to arrest and will be admissible at preliminary hearings regarding probable cause or a statutory summary suspension hearing. 

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If have been arrested for DUI, you should have been warned by the arresting officer that your drivers license will be suspended starting on the 46th day after your arrest. You should have further been advised as to the length of your suspension. This particular suspension, called a statutory summary suspension, is triggered by either a failed breathalyzer test or a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.

For first time offenders, your suspension will last for 6 months if you submitted to the breathalyzer test, but failed by registering a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. A first time offender's suspension will last for 1 year if he/she refused to submit to the test. For subsequent offenders, the suspension ranges from 1 year for a failed test to 3 years for a refusal.

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