In Parts one and two, we discussed how you can always help yourself in a driving while impaired investigation by not answering questions and not agreeing to perform field sobriety tests, which generally are used to assist the officer in forming probable cause to support your arrest. While not answering questions and not doing the tests won’t prevent your arrest, it will make your case much harder to prove when it goes to court.
In Part 3, I want to discuss the decision of whether to blow at the station or jail, which is a much more difficult question that will have immediate ramifications on your driver license. It is unfortunately a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.
When you are taken into the intoximeter room, the Officer is required to advise you of certain rights you have with regard to the taking of the chemical test. By all means you should exercise your right to call a witness to come and view the testing procedure, and/or an attorney for advice. By picking up the phone in the breath testing room and making these calls, you are at the very least buying more time (at least an extra 15 minutes) to consider the more important question of whether you are going to blow. If a witness is able to arrive at the breath testing room within the 30 minute time limit, then you can utilize that witness at trial as to what they observed regarding your level of sobriety. You are also giving your body more time to process any alcohol that is in your system.
GENERALLY, CHOOSING TO BLOW CAN HURT YOUR DWI CASE (WHEN YOU ARE OVER THE LIMIT), BUT IS MORE FORGIVING TO YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGE
If you do choose to blow, and that result is at or over a .08, then you face a 30-day civil suspension of your driver’s license and a potentially uphill climb for your lawyer if the stop and arrest are otherwise lawful. The positives of this scenario are that your license suspension is only temporary (30 days), and you will be able to get your license back after that 30 day period and drive until such time as you are convicted. If it’s your first conviction, you will be immediately eligible for a limited driving privilege absent other aggravating factors.
GENERALLY, REFUSING TO BLOW CAN HELP YOUR DWI CASE, BUT HURT YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE
By refusing to blow, you face an automatic one year suspension of your license without the possibility of a driving privilege during that year. The only exception to this is that you may be eligible for a privilege after 6 months if the case has been resolved (guilty or not guilty) and you have completed all treatment recommended as a result of your DWI assessment. Sometimes the refusal backfires when the officer is able to obtain a search warrant for a chemical analysis of your blood. But absent a blood result, a refusal to blow can strengthen your defense immeasurably by denying the State the one linchpin piece of evidence they desire most, your blood alcohol concentration.