Can You Decline a Breathalyzer in California?

Can You Decline a Breathalyzer in California?

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) cases in California, one of the key elements is the breathalyzer test. In California, the law requires drivers to submit to chemical testing to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if they have been lawfully arrested for DUI. This is known as the state’s implied consent law. But what happens if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in California? If you have questions about your rights when pulled over for a DUI in California or if you are in need of legal representation for a DUI-related matter, you can reach our knowledgeable DUI lawyers at Sevens Legal by calling (619) 430-2355.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) cases, one of the key elements is the breathalyzer test.

The Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) breathalyzer test is usually optional, meaning you can refuse to take it without immediate consequences.

However, after an arrest for DUI, the officer may request a formal breathalyzer test, which is legally required.

California has a strict no-tolerance policy when it comes to DUI offenses.

It is important to understand the legal implications and potential consequences of declining a breathalyzer test when pulled over for suspicion of DUI in California.

Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 13353 and 14905, refusing to submit to a required breathalyzer test can result in automatic license suspension.

Each state has its own set of laws and regulations regarding the refusal of a breathalyzer test. It is important to understand the legal implications and potential consequences of declining a breathalyzer test when pulled over for suspicion of DUI in California.

Understanding California DUI Laws

What is California’s BAC Limit?

All states in the United States have laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher if you are 21 years of age or older. For drivers under the age of 21 (or for drivers of any age on DUI probation), the legal limit is 0.01%. For commercial drivers, the legal limit in California is 0.04%.

California’s No-Tolerance Policy Towards DUI Offenders

California has a strict no-tolerance policy when it comes to DUI offenses. The state takes impaired driving very seriously due to the potential risks it poses to public safety. As a result, penalties for DUI convictions can be severe and may include fines, license suspension, mandatory DUI education programs, probation, and even jail time. In some cases, refusing a breathalyzer test can complicate the process and lead to additional penalties.

What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer in California?

When a law enforcement officer suspects a driver of DUI, they may request that the driver take a breathalyzer test. This test, known as the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, is typically administered at the scene of the traffic stop. The PAS test is usually optional, meaning you can refuse to take it without immediate consequences.

However, after an arrest for DUI, the officer may request a formal breathalyzer test, which is legally required. This test is typically conducted at a police station or another designated location. If you refuse to take the required breathalyzer test after being lawfully arrested, you may face additional penalties under California’s DUI refusal laws.

Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 13353 and 14905, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test can result in a $125 fine and automatic license suspension for one to four years. The length of the suspension depends on several factors, including whether it is your first DUI offense or if you have prior DUI convictions within a specified timeframe.

If you refuse the chemical test and are later convicted of DUI, you may face enhanced penalties. The refusal itself can be used as evidence against you in court and it may be regarded as an indication of guilt. It is important to note that the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test are separate from the penalties for a DUI conviction.

What is the DUI Refusal Enhancement in California?

California Vehicle Code 23612 outlines Californias implied consent law and the consequences of refusing a chemical test. According to this law, any person who drives a motor vehicle in the state is deemed to have given their consent to a chemical test if lawfully arrested for a DUI. The test can be a breath test, blood test, or urine test.

In California, the DUI refusal enhancement is an additional charge that can be added to your DUI case if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test after a DUI arrest. This enhancement carries its own set of penalties and can result in harsher consequences than a standard DUI conviction.

How Do You Beat a DUI Refusal in California?

Beating a DUI refusal charge in California can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. If you have refused a breathalyzer test and are facing DUI charges, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation from an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer. They will assess the details of your case, evaluate the evidence against you, and develop a strong defense strategy.

One possible defense strategy is to challenge the validity of the arrest itself. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over or arrest you for DUI, it may be possible to have the evidence obtained after the arrest suppressed. Additionally, your attorney may challenge the accuracy and reliability of the breathalyzer test results or question any procedural errors during the testing process.

What to Do if Youre Stopped Under Suspicion of DUI in California

If you find yourself pulled over by law enforcement under suspicion of DUI in California, it’s important to remain calm and follow these suggested steps:

Cooperate with the officer: Provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance when requested. Be polite and respectful throughout the interaction.

Avoid self-incrimination: You have the right to remain silent. You are not legally obligated to answer any questions beyond providing your identification and basic vehicle information.

Decline field sobriety tests: San Diego field sobriety tests are voluntary, and you have the right to decline them. These tests are subjective and can be influenced by various factors, including physical conditions, nerves, or other non-alcohol-related factors.

Understand your rights: Remember that you have the right to refuse the PAS test, which is the roadside breathalyzer test administered before an arrest. However, refusing the formal breathalyzer test after an arrest can result in additional penalties.

Contact a DUI lawyer: If you have been arrested or charged with DUI, consult with a skilled San Diego DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Attorney Ben Steigerwalt Discusses Your Rights if You’re Arrested for DUI in California

In a recent video, Sevens Legal associate attorney Ben Steigerwalt sheds some light on what to do when pulled over for a DUI in California. This can be a stressful situation and attorney Steigerwalt provides valuable insights into your rights during a DUI stop, including whether you have to consent to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test and the consequences of refusing a DNA test at the police station. In the video, attorney Ben Steigerwalt aims to educate and empower individuals facing a DUI arrest in California, helping them make informed decisions and protect their rights during this most challenging time.

Potential San Diego DUI Penalties

The penalties for a DUI conviction in San Diego can vary depending on several factors, including the specific circumstances of the offense, prior DUI convictions, and the defendant’s blood alcohol level. Some of the potential penalties for a first DUI conviction in San Diego may include:

License suspension for up to 6 months

Up to $1,000 in fines

Probation

A DUI education program

Ignition interlock device (IID)

Up to 6 months of jail time

Community service

Impact of Declining a Breathalyzer on Your San Diego DUI Case

As we stated earlier, it is your right to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test administered at the scene of a California DUI stop. However, refusing a breathalyzer test after a lawful DUI arrest in California can have significant implications for your defense. The prosecution may argue that your refusal implies guilt and suggests that you were aware of your intoxication. The prosecution may also use this refusal to argue that you were attempting to avoid incriminating evidence.

It is imperative that you consult with an experienced San Diego DUI defense lawyer who can thoroughly evaluate the specific circumstances of your case, including your reasons for refusing the breathalyzer test. They can develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your situation and work to challenge the prosecution’s arguments.

Free San Diego DUI Defense Consultation

If you have declined a breathalyzer test or are facing DUI charges in San Diego, it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. At Sevens Legal, our experienced team of DUI defense lawyers is here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights. We offer free consultations to discuss your case, evaluate your options, and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your defense.

How to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

To schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable San Diego DUI defense lawyers, contact Sevens Legal at (619) 430-2355 today. Don’t wait—take the first step towards building a strong DUI defense and protecting your future.

FAQs About Can You Decline a Breathalyzer in California?

What is the breathalyzer law in California?

The breathalyzer law in California, also known as “implied consent law,” states that by driving in the state, you automatically consent to a chemical test if you are lawfully arrested for DUI. Refusing the test can result in penalties such as license suspension and fines, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DUI. However, there are legal strategies and nuances that a skilled DUI lawyer can use to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test.

Should you always refuse a breathalyzer?

Although you have the right to refuse the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test in California, it is not advisable to refuse a formal breathalyzer test after a DUI arrest, as doing so can lead to immediate and severe consequences, such as an automatic driver’s license suspension and potential impact on your case. It’s important to remember that refusing a breathalyzer does not guarantee that you will avoid a DUI charge, and it may limit the options available to your defense attorney.

Can you deny a field sobriety test in California?

In California, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test, which typically includes tasks such as walking in a straight line or standing on one leg. It’s crucial to seek legal counsel immediately if you are facing DUI charges, as an experienced DUI attorney can assess the specifics of your case and develop a strategic defense tailored to your situation.