Should I Refuse to Take a Breath or Blood Test After Being Arrested for a DUI?

July 26, 2020

If you refuse to take a post-arrest chemical test, you’ll be hit with additional penalties.

Should I Refuse to Take a Breath or Blood Test After Being Arrested for a DUI?

There are many myths or urban legends surrounding driving under the influence (DUI). For example, someone might tell you that sucking on a penny will trick a breathalyzer test, or that drinking lots of coffee will sober you up. You may have also heard that if you are asked to take a breathalyzer test, you should refuse — with the argument being that if the cops don’t have your breath, they don’t know how intoxicated you are and can’t prosecute you for DUI.

Unfortunately, this myth — like sucking on a penny to defeat a breathalyzer test — is false. As a DUI defense lawyer in San Bernardino, CA can explain, California has an implied consent law. If you drive in California, you do not have a right to refuse a DUI breath test after you are lawfully arrested for DUI. If you do refuse to take the test, then you will face additional penalties and a driver’s license suspension that will be imposed even if you are found not guilty of the underlying DUI charge.

California’s implied consent law only applies to post-arrest chemical tests. In other words, you cannot refuse to take a chemical test after you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI. However, you can refuse to take a pre-arrest breathalyzer test as long as you are 21 or older and not currently on DUI probation. This means that most people can legally say no to a roadside breathalyzer test — but if you are arrested and taken to a police station, a refusal will result in additional penalties.

These consequences may include additional jail time (between 48 hours to 18 days) on top of whatever sentence you may receive and a license suspension of 1 to 3 years regardless of the outcome of your DUI case. For example, if you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and have no prior DUI convictions, a refusal will result in 48 hours of additional jail time, 6 extra months of mandatory alcohol education classes and a 1 year license suspension.

There may be some situations where refusing to take a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest may help your criminal case. The prosecutor in your case may not believe that a case is strong enough without evidence of intoxication from a chemical test, and decide to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. This potential benefit to your criminal case must be weighed against the reality that you will still face penalties for a refusal, even if the DUI charge is reduced or dismissed. If you have questions about whether it is advisable to refuse to take a chemical breath or blood test, consult with a DUI defense lawyer in San Bernardino, CA for more specific advice.

At the Chambers Law Firm, we represent individuals who have been charged with DUI and related offenses. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.

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