If you see a drunk driving checkpoint up ahead or you’re pulled over and you’ve already had a few drinks, odds are your heart is going to start pounding a little harder. You might wonder what you can do to get out of the situation you’ve just driven yourself into.
Unfortunately, once you’ve been stopped for drunk driving, your options are few. If you’re considering driving away or doing something like refusing a breathalyzer, you should know those actions could end with you in just as much trouble than if you blow .08. One man in Peterborough, Ontario found that out the hard way after he was recently arrested for suspected drunk driving.
He was stopped after someone reported an extremely impaired driver to Ontario Provincial Police. It was just before noon, and when police found him and pulled him over, they believed he was impaired. The arresting officer asked him to submit to a breathalyzer test, but he refused.
In the heat of the moment it may seem that refusing the breathalyzer is a good idea. After all, if the police officer can’t prove you’re drunk and driving, you might think they can’t charge you for that crime. But in terms of impaired driving law, that’s flawed logic. Lawmakers in Ontario were prepared for people to consider refusal a viable alternative to submitting to a breath test, and they built in penalties designed to punish people almost as harshly as someone charged with suspected drunk driving.
After this man refused the breathalyzer the police officer decided he had enough evidence to charge him anyway, and he also received a charge of refusing to provide a breath sample and driving on a suspended license.
When he appeared in court he pleaded guilty to the impaired and refusal charges, and the judge made the decision to fine him $1,300 for each offense. His total bill was $2,600. He also had his driver’s license suspended again, and he was asked to pay court charges of $780.
That’s an expensive day in court, and he would have been able to save a bit of his bank balance had he decided to just submit to the breathalyzer anyway. It’s a good lesson to keep in mind for anyone who’s been pulled over for suspected drunk driving: refusing the breathalyzer really doesn’t pay off in the long run.