Can I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test In California?

The Laws On Consent And Rights In California DUI Arrests

In California, getting pulled over for a traffic infraction can be a scary experience. Even for a minor offense like a speeding ticket, no one loves getting into problems with the law. Even worse is getting pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DUI). Driving while intoxicated is not only very dangerous, but it can also be very embarrassing.


However, in addition to your DUI in Los Angeles, refusing to submit to a chemical test may result in other consequences. So, can authorities force you to take a breathalyzer test in California? How about consent laws? Can refusal lead to more penalties?

Let's look at what our Los Angeles DUI lawyers have to say about it:


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California's Chemical Testing Consent Law

Given that you are aware of your right to be free from arbitrary searches and seizures under the Constitution, you may want to refuse to submit to a chemical test administered by the police. This is accurate, but it's a little more complicated than what movies and TV shows portray. You may be required to submit chemical testing by law enforcement due to a legal concept known as "implied consent."


By using and driving your vehicle on the state's roads and highways, all drivers have implicitly consented to chemical testing, according to the implied consent regulation. Essentially, your agreement to chemical testing is inferred by operating a vehicle. You must comply with this requirement on your subsequent trip to the DMV.


The police cannot physically force you to submit to a chemical test, but you cannot opt-out of it either. Therefore, your choices in this scenario are merely for the type of testing you will submit to (i.e., a breathalyzer test, a blood test, or a urine test).


The California Vehicle Code states that the authorities must provide you the option of doing a breathalyzer test and drawing blood. So if one of those choices isn't available, you'll have to accept the alternative. Likewise, you might have to provide a urine sample for analysis if neither of the two is possible.


Get a referral to our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles, CA ASAP if you think your rights have been violated.


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What Are the Repercussions For Refusing A Breathalyzer Test In California?


Depending on your driving history and history of DUIs, the specific consequences for refusing to take a breathalyzer test or another type of chemical testing after being detained may differ. For example, a driver with a recent DUI on their driving record will be subject to harsher penalties than a first-time offender.

  • The most minor penalties apply if you have never been charged with a DUI before. However, if you are found guilty of the DUI, you will have your license suspended for a year and could also face additional required fines and jail time.

  • If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test and have been convicted of a DUI once during the last ten years, you will face the same penalties as above, but your license will be suspended for two years rather than one.

  • Similarly, a 3-year license suspension will occur if you have two or more prior DUI convictions on your record within the last ten years.

In addition to your history of DUIs, your license status may also impact the suspension of your license. For example, your license suspension might be extended if it has already been suspended, even if you have no prior DUI convictions.


Your initial suspension had to have occurred within the previous 10 years and be connected to a refusal to submit to chemical testing. Call us to arrange a free case review if you declined chemical testing; our prescreened DUI defense attorneys in Los Angeles can assist.

You Can Still Be Found Guilty Of A DUI In Your Refuse A Breathalyzer

Because they are aware that a breathalyzer test will be used to show their intoxication, some drivers refuse to take it. However, you must realize that declining to take the test would not exonerate you from the DUI allegations.


It is unnecessary, but the findings of a post-arrest breathalyzer test would surely aid the prosecution in getting your conviction. Even without a breathalyzer test, you might still be charged with DUI and found guilty. Even worse, you will be subject to further fines if you refuse to take the test.


Before making an arrest, police officers could also request that you take a breathalyzer test. This breathalyzer test is different from the testing done after an arrest. The pre-arrest breathalyzer can be refused, but the post-arrest chemical testing cannot.


You will still be charged with refusing to submit to testing even if the prosecutor decides to withdraw your DUI charges due to a poor case without a post-arrest breathalyzer test or other chemical testing.

There is no simple solution to this problem. Charges for the DUI, charges for refusing to submit to testing, or even both may be brought against you. Please contact a prescreened criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles immediately if you declined a breathalyzer test.


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Hire A Prescreened DUI Defense Lawyer In Los Angeles

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