A driving under the influence, or DUI, investigation starts when a police officer suspects a driver is drunk. To confirm his suspicions, he’ll request the driver take a breath or blood test. Yes, the driver can refuse to take the blood or breath test. Research does show about 20 percent of drivers suspected of DUI refuse to take a breath or blood test. However, the driver will face serious penalties for doing so under California’s Implied Consent Law.
What is California Vehicle Code Section 13353?
VC section 13353 refers to a driver consenting to a blood or breath test anytime he or she operates a vehicle in the state. In other words, by operating a vehicle, you agree to take the blood or breath any time you’re stopped by police on suspicion of DUI.
Keep in mind, law enforcement can only ask for the test if they have a valid reason for suspecting a driver is drunk. In that case, if a driver refuses to submit to the blood or breath test, the driver could automatically face a license suspension.
Can I Refuse to take a Breathalyzer Test?
You can refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. However, the state will give you a citation. In addition, you could face additional potential legal penalties if convicted of DUI such as:
- Approximately nine months of DUI School
- One year suspended license
- Two additional days in jail
If you’re convicted of DUI for the second or subsequent time and you refuse a chemical test, penalties increase. For example, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license for three years for a third chemical test refusal. If convicted of a third DUI, the driver can face three additional days in jail.
Whenever a license is suspended or revoked for refusing to submit to a breath or blood test, the state’s department of motor vehicles does not issue a provisional driver’s license. A driver can’t drive during the suspension or revocation.
Some Legal Strategies for Refusing a DUI Chemical Test
If you were arrested for DUI and refused to take a chemical test, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. You have a right to legal counsel. Having an skilled DUI attorney on your side can help you in your efforts to avoid the consequences of a DUI conviction.
Attorneys do have some common legal defense strategies to combat chemical test refusals such as:
- The suspect wasn’t actually operating the motor vehicle
- The arresting police officer didn’t have probable cause for a traffic stop
- The police officer didn’t have any legal reason to believe the driver was under the influence
Former Prosecutor Jonathan Franklin Now Fights for You
Have you been charged with driving under the influence? Did you refuse to take a chemical test? Don’t let the worry and stress of a DUI charge make you believe you’ll be automatically convicted of the crime. Use those emotions in a positive way by retaining an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Jonathan Franklin is a former prosecutor who now defends clients who have been charged with a DUI. He understands the fear clients experience when facing DUI charges. That’s why he will make a clear-cut assessment of your DUI case and present you with all of your legal options. Whether it’s building a defense for trial, negotiating a plea deal or fighting to get the charges dropped, he will let you know your options so that you can work together to successfully resolve your matter.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin is here for you. We’ll assist you through every phase of the criminal DUI charge. Contact us for a free consultation so we can review your case and its potential defenses.