Refusing DUI Breath & Blood Tests Can Cost You Big!
California has an “implied consent” law, which states any person who drives a motor vehicle and is lawfully arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol must submit to a chemical test when a police officer requests.
If neither blood nor breath tests are available, then a urine test is required. By accepting a California driver’s license, the driver agrees to submit to chemical testing if a police officer suspects the driver of driving under the influence of alcohol.
If a driver fails to consent to a test, the United States Supreme Court recently found police must obtain a warrant before forcing a blood draw. The Court held that nonconsensual warrantless blood draw violates a person’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
The Supreme Court decision does not invalidate the implied consent laws, and if officers wants to rely solely on the refusal, they may still do so.
If, however, a forced blood draw is taken, a warrant must be obtained. The officer must attempt to obtain a warrant, unless exigent circumstance, which means there was no time to obtain a warrant. If the officer is unable to obtain a warrant, the officer must explain clearly and concisely all the steps that were taken to procure a warrant and the reasons why a search warrant was not be obtained.
It is important to realize refusing a chemical test has serious consequences. Refusing a blood or breath test comes with its own set of penalties, regardless whether a warrant is obtained and the evidence is admissible. In addition to an enhanced sentencing for a refusal allegation, the DMV suspensions are considerably worse.
If you are arrested for a DUI, do not chance it — take the test. Although it may show alcohol in your system, it is still better than a 1 year suspension from DMV. After your arrest, your DUI lawyer can determine the best defense for your case, but do not make it harder by refusing.