The answer depends on a number of factors.
If you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you may be asked to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS, or roadside breathalyzer test). Unless you are under the age of 21 or currently on DUI probation, you can — and should — refuse this test, without penalty.
If you are ultimately arrested, you will be asked to take a chemical blood or breath test (you may be able to take a urine test in some cases). Unlike a pre-arrest breath test, refusing to take this chemical test will result in consequences. As a DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles, CA can explain, California has an implied consent law. This means that if you drive in the state and are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you have impliedly consented to a chemical test. If you refuse a post-arrest test, then you may face enhanced penalties and the loss of your license — on top of any other consequences that you may face for a DUI conviction.
In most cases, you will be given a choice between a blood and breath test. If the law enforcement officer who arrested you believes that you are under the influence of drugs, if you are unconscious, or if you are at a hospital where breath testing equipment is not available, then you will typically not be given a choice, and a blood test will be performed.
If you are given a choice, which kind of test should you take? Blood or breath?
According to a DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of test. Breath tests are faster and less invasive than blood tests. However, some people may not be able to take a breath test, such as if they had a condition that limits their ability to blow hard enough into the machine.
Blood tests are more invasive, but are typically more accurate than breath tests. That is because breath tests measure the amount of a certain alcohol compound in the deep lung air. This amount is then converted into blood alcohol concentration (BAC) using a formula. In contrast, a blood test directly measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream.
With a blood test, your DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles, CA can request that a portion of the sample taken from you be preserved. This enables you to challenge the results of the test by having it independently tested. Also, if the sample is not taken in accordance with California law, then this may be an additional basis for challenge.
While a sample of your breath test cannot be preserved for independent testing, there are ways to challenge the results of this kind of test. There are many things that can impact the results of a breath test, such as following a ketogenic diet. In addition, if the proper procedures for taking the test were not followed, your DUI defense lawyer in Los Angeles, CA can argue that the case against you should be dismissed.
Ultimately, whether you choose to take a blood or breath test is a personal decision. A skilled attorney can work with the facts of your case to put together a strong defense, no matter which type of test that you have taken.
The Chambers Law Firm represents individuals throughout Southern California who have been charged with DUIs and related offenses. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation.