California has an implied consent law. This law mandates that if you were lawfully arrested for drunk driving, you have implicitly agreed to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration or whether you have drugs in your system. If you are concerned about how a DUI refusal may affect your case, you should contact the Sacramento DUI lawyers at Travis G. Black & Associates. We provide skillful representation to people charged with drunk driving.The Implications of DUI Refusal
The implied consent law only requires you to submit to chemical testing after you have been lawfully arrested. In order to lawfully arrest you for drunk driving in a traffic stop, the police officer needs to have probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence of either alcohol or a controlled substance, and the officer must have had a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in order to pull you over in the first place.
A reasonable suspicion exists when an officer has an articulable basis for pulling you over — they cannot pull you over for no reason. The officer needs to be able to point out specific facts that made them suspect that a crime had taken place or was taking place. For example, if you were weaving in traffic, this could give rise to a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
Probable cause exists when an officer has reason to believe that you were driving under the influence. To obtain probable cause, the officer may cite bloodshot eyes, a smell of alcohol, and how you did on field sobriety tests.
If it appears that an officer lacked a reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest you, we may be able to bring a motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the search, such as a blood alcohol test or another chemical test. However, if you are lawfully arrested for drunk driving, you have already given implicit consent to submit to chemical testing.
You do not need to submit to a chemical test before you are lawfully arrested unless you are under 21 years old or are currently on probation for a DUI. In some cases, an officer will ask you to take a Breathalyzer or another preliminary alcohol screening test for the purpose of establishing probable cause to arrest you. You do not need to consent if you are not being arrested.
Once you are arrested, your arresting officer is supposed to explain to you the consequences of refusing a chemical test. A fine of $125 will be imposed. If you refuse to take a chemical test for a first time, your license can be suspended for a year. For a second refusal, you may lose your license for two years. For a third refusal, there is a three-year license suspension. The arresting officer should also explain that the test refusal can be used against you in court.
Whether you should refuse a post-arrest chemical test depends on the specific facts and situation at hand. Generally, refusing a chemical test will not help you avoid being convicted for a DUI. In order to have arrested you, the officer is supposed to have probable cause, and in many cases, they can base it on your conduct prior to being arrested, such as the reason why you were pulled over in the first place, coupled with alcohol on the breath, slurred speech, or some other factor related to your behavior upon being pulled over. Sometimes, a prosecutor will argue that the refusal to submit to the chemical test shows that you knew that you were drunk while driving.Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney in Sacramento or Beyond
If you are arrested or charged with drunk driving, you may be concerned about how a DUI refusal will affect your case. Our firm has experience in cases involving DUI refusal. Sacramento attorney Travis G. Black is a former law enforcement officer and has insights into DUI defense. We provide skillful legal representation to people arrested for DUIs from our Folsom office. To obtain a free consultation with a drunk driving lawyer, contact Travis G. Black & Associates online or at 916-962-2896.