Refusing a Breathalyzer Test In Pennsylvania - Consequences

In Department of Transportation v. Wysocki, 517 Pa. 175, 535 A.2d 77 (1987), the licensee was arrested at a DUI checkpoint and refused to consent to chemical testing. His license was suspended under the Implied Consent Law. Wysocki alleged that his arrest was unconstitutional and, on that basis, attempted to distinguish his situation from that in Glass v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, 460 Pa. 362, 366, 333 A.2d 768, 770 (1975), where the arrest suffered only from a statutory or procedural defect. The Supreme Court rejected Wysocki's contention and held as follows: Properly viewed, the issue in the instant case, as it was in Glass, is the power of the Department of Transportation to suspend a driver's license, which is conferred by the implied consent law. That authority is not conditioned on the validity of the arrest which gives rise to the request for a breathalyzer test. ... Where the driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, that refusal violates a condition for the continued privilege of operating a motor vehicle and is properly considered as a basis for suspension of that privilege. The driver's guilt or innocence of a criminal offense is not at issue in the license suspension proceedings. The only fact necessary to the administrative determination is the driver's refusal to comply with the breathalyzer request after being taken into custody. Wysocki, 517 Pa. at 179-180, 535 A.2d at 79.