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Can I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test in California?

An Overview of California’s Implied Consent Law

It happens all too often. One second, you are enjoying a few drinks with friends, and the next moment, you are being pulled over by the police. Driving under the influence is a serious charge, one that carries harsh penalties. You might be inclined to refuse the officer’s request to take a breath or blood test in an effort to avoid a charge, but is that really in your best interest?

Were you arrested for and/or charged with DUI? Our Placer County criminal defense lawyers can help. At Chastaine Jones, we understand that being charged with driving under the influence can happen to virtually anyone. That is why we fight hard to prevent one mistake from affecting your entire future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a top DUI lawyer in Gold River.

California’s Implied Consent Law

Like many states, California has an implied consent law. This law requires all motorists who have been lawfully arrested for suspicion of drunk or drugged driving to submit to a breath or blood test to determine whether drugs or alcohol are in their bodies. Under an implied consent law, driving is seen as a privilege, not a right. Since it is considered a privilege, should you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, your driving privilege should be taken away for a certain period of time. 

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

Although you technically have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or blood test, if you do, there are consequences. Should you choose to refuse to submit to a test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year. 

Other Penalties for Refusing a Blood or Breath Test

In addition to a one-year driver’s license suspension, you will likely face additional penalties if you are later convicted of driving under the influence. Those penalties will include a mandatory fine as well as mandatory jail time. In California, driving under the influence is a wobbler charge, meaning the offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony DUI. If convicted of a felony DUI, the penalties are much more severe, typically carrying a prison sentence of one year or longer, hefty fines, drug or alcohol courses, and probation.

If you refuse a test within ten years of a previous DUI conviction, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license for two years. If your refusal is within ten years of two or more DUI convictions, you will lose your license for three years.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with DUI

If you were arrested and charged with DUI, whether you submitted to a blood or breathalyzer test or refused a test, you should talk to a DUI lawyer immediately. Many people try to handle the situation by themselves, which can have dire consequences.

Working with an experienced DUI lawyer in Gold River will give you the best chance of securing a favorable outcome. Your attorney will look into the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine the best approach to your case. They can also speak on your behalf at your DMV hearing, possibly preventing the loss of your license. They will also represent you in court and work to have your charge either dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, such as a “wet reckless” charge.

Speak with a Leading DUI Lawyer in Sacramento County

Fewer things are more frightening than being asked by a police officer, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” But remember, what you do at that moment can change everything. Refusing to take a breathalyzer or blood test can make the situation much worse. 
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is never a good idea to go it alone. Give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome and work with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer in Placer County. The criminal defense attorneys at Chastaine Jones will guide you through the process and advocate aggressively on your behalf to have your charges reduced or dismissed. When you need a strong legal defense, turn to the Gold River DUI attorneys at Chastain Jones. Contact us online to arrange a confidential case review.

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