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Should I agree to take a chemical test? What happens if I don’t?

The answer to this can only come on a case by case basis. The consequences of refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test are as follows:

  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. This may be true even if you are found not guilty of the DUI charge. In Rhode Island, the suspension for a refusal on a first offense is six months to one year.
  • For a subsequent refusal in a five year period, it is a separate crime with a potential jail sentence.

Taking a chemical test and “passing” can avoid either the charges being filed or can help secure an acquittal at trial. It is important to understand that even if you “pass” a chemical test, police can still charge you with DUI under the “impaired” theory. Failing the test will provide the prosecution with strong evidence against you whereas refusing to submit to a chemical test can not even be mentioned at your trial. Thus, the decision is not an easy one and should only be made after consulting with a DUI lawyer.

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