If you’re new to California, then it will be helpful to know that the state is an implied consent state. What this means is that you are required to submit to a chemical test if you are suspected of driving under the influence. When you signed up for your California driver’s license – which you’re required to have if you’ve been living in the state for a period – you agreed to submit to such testing. The reason that you need to understand this is simple. If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, and you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the penalties that you face for driving under the influence are far greater. That being said, it can make a big difference if you have a skilled attorney representing you in court. But first, let's review your rights.
The Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test
Even though you are required by law to submit to a chemical test, this does not mean that you can’t refuse such a test. Further, it does not mean that an officer will coerce you into taking a test. You can, if you want to, completely refuse the test entirely – so long as you are of age. However, doing this will open you up to automatic penalties that you would not face otherwise.
These automatic penalties will be administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and they will include the immediate suspension of your license. For a first DUI offense wherein you refused the chemical test, your license will be suspended for a period of one year, without question. For a second DUI offense wherein you refused a chemical test, your license will be suspended for a period of two years, again without question. For a third offense, your license will be automatically suspended for three years. A fourth offense is considered a felony, and carries with it far greater consequences.
When you’re asked to submit to a chemical test, the officer asking is only required to ask once. If you refuse only to change your mind, it will still be considered a refusal in the eyes of the law. This means that you do not have the option of choosing what chemical test you will submit to. The only manner in which you could possibly have a choice is if you have a health condition that prevents you from giving a blood sample. If this is the case, then you will be required to submit to a urine test.
Refusals Are Not Always Cut and Dry
In California, there is also something known as an alleged refusal, and this term covers a number of different circumstances. For example, if you simply stand silent when asked to submit to a chemical test – even if you did not hear the request – this will be an alleged refusal. Further, if you fail to complete the test administered to you, for example if you did not blow hard enough into the Breathalyzer or submit an adequate quantity of urine, this can also be considered an alleged refusal. These alleged refusals are handled just the same as if you had simply said no to a chemical test.
How to Contest a Refusal, Alleged or Otherwise, in Court
As mentioned, a refusal will dramatically increase the potential penalties that you face in a DUI case. Therefore, you may want to contest this refusal, specifically an alleged one, in court. A qualified and experienced DUI attorney like myself knows how to call into question these refusals and to have the potential penalties that you face in your DUI case reduced. If you require legal assistance in this area, then you should get in touch today. I can be reached at (760) 613-5384? in order to set up a free consultation to review the best course of action.