We recently wrote about an incident involving a woman who was charged with a DUI offense even though officers never observed her actually driving the vehicle. She was simply unconscious behind the wheel. In that case, her car was stopped at a traffic signal at the time. We noted or promised in that post that drunk driving charges could result under more common circumstances too -- like a car parked in a parking lot.
That is exactly what happened this past weekend when officers came across a car parked in the Walmart parking lot in Spring Mills. The vehicle’s headlights were turned on, and two individuals were found sleeping in the car.
Officers conducted a breath test at the scene, with results of .349 and .354, according to official records. The man asleep behind the wheel was charged with driving under the influence, and the man sleeping in the backseat was charged with permitting DUI -- a charge a lot of West Virginia residents may not even know exists.
Should these individuals have refused a Breathalyzer test under these circumstances? We’re not going to speculate as to what was best for these men in this situation. The point of asking that question is that individuals should understand their options should it come time to make a decision such as the one above.
Refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test is well within the rights of an individual pulled over or approached in either Berkeley County or Jefferson County. The downside to refusing to submit to a breath test is the fact that it would result in the automatic suspension of a license. Refusing to have an official record of a BAC at this point could be seen as a benefit under some circumstances.
These cases aren’t cut-and-dry, and in some instances it is about weighing options. A defense attorney is an incredible resource to have in making these decisions, because they do have an effect on the outcome of a case.
Source: Herald-Mail Media, “Two Hagerstown men arraigned on DUI charges,” April 22, 2014