In Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania, the refusal of a breath test may lead to a separate charge and therefore criminal penalties. The defense of such a charge is in addition to the defense of a DUI charge and can be more difficult than the drinking and driving charge to defend. The arrest of a former NFL running back illustrates how the two charges can come hand in hand.
Former Atlanta Falcons running back, Jamal Anderson was charged with DUI after he fell asleep behind the wheel at an intersection in DeKalb County, Georgia. Although the news story comes from outside of Pennsylvania, it is still demonstrative of police action in response to refusal to take a breath test and what action police take when drunk driving is reasonably suspected.
Police found the 39-year-old asleep behind the wheel of his SUV in the middle lane of a road around 4 a.m. on June 24. Police pulled behind Anderson’s vehicle when they observed the light of the intersection turn green multiple times and observed Anderson’s failure to operate the vehicle.
Police attempted to wake Anderson up by tapping on his window, but the effort failed. Police officers used their cars to block the former professional athlete’s car from moving if Anderson awoke or hit the gas while asleep. After securing the vehicle, an officer placed the car in park and unlocked the car door by reaching in through the sunroof.
Anderson only awoke after being placed in handcuffs. According to the report, an officer noticed the 39-year-old had a strong odor of alcohol, was sweating, and that his eyes were bloodshot. Anderson was given a field sobriety test and was then charged with DUI. Anderson also refused to take a breath test.
Source: ajc.com, “Police: Tried Repeatedly to Awake Jamal Anderson Before DUI Arrest,” July 2, 2012