Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in California During a DUI Stop?


Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in California During a DUI Stop?

Getting pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a terrifying and disturbing experience, especially if it is the first time that something like this has happened to you. Your behavior during the traffic stop and subsequent arrest (if you are arrested) will play a significant role in determining the result of the case against you.  You may be requested to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test as well as a field sobriety test when you are pulled over for the first time. Some examples of these tests include walking in a straight line, following an item with your eyes, standing on one leg, and others. You will be requested to submit to a chemical test once you have been placed under arrest and escorted to the police station in order to assess your blood alcohol content (BAC).

In Orange County, California, Should You Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?

There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding whether or not a person can refuse to take a breathalyzer test when they have been pulled over for suspicion of DUI. Much of this is because there are really two separate breathalyzer tests that you may be requested to do; the preliminary alcohol screening device test that may occur during the stop, and the chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test that is administered after the arrest.

You have the right to deny the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test, and you should do so.

If you are under the age of 21, you cannot refuse to do the PAS breathalyzer test that the police ask you to take when you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI; but, if you are over the age of 21, you cannot refuse to take this breathalyzer test without incurring a penalty. The primary objective of the PAS device test is for the officer to establish probable cause to place you under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Taking this examination is not recommended for any reason other than sheer curiosity. It’s possible that the officer will give you the impression that you’re obligated to take it, and that doing so will benefit you in the long run. This is only true if you are one hundred percent positive that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

You should also decline to take the field sobriety tests for the same reasons as stated above, as a side note. You have no reasonable expectation that these tests will be administered honestly because they are being given by an officer who has already formed the suspicion that you are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. If the officer doesn’t have the results of the field sobriety tests or the PAS device test, they may not have probable cause to arrest you in the first place. Furthermore, if you are arrested, the findings of the subsequent chemical test that is conducted at the police station may be ruled inadmissible in court.

You Will Be Subject to a Sanction if You Ignore the Chemical Breath Test.

The breathalyzer test that you are offered at the police station following your arrest is required of you, and if you refuse to do it, you will be liable to further penalties in accordance with the “implied consent” statute that is in place in the state of California.  When you apply for a driver’s license in the state of California, you are automatically providing your consent to be tested in the event that you are ever arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is referred to as California’s implied consent law.

Included in the list of penalties for refusing to take the obligatory chemical breath test for DUI are the following:

After a legitimate arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence DUI First Offence California of alcohol, a driver’s license will be immediately suspended for a period of one year if they refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine the amount of alcohol in their blood. If a person refuses a test for a second DUI or if they have been convicted of reckless driving or DUI within the past ten years, their license will be automatically suspended for two years. This suspension can also occur if they refuse the test for the first time. In the event of a third refusal or if a person has been convicted of driving while intoxicated or recklessly within the past ten years, the penalty will be increased to a three-year suspension of driving privileges.

If I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, will that help my criminal case?

It is unlikely that your DUI defense will be strengthened if you refuse to submit to the necessary chemical test (such as a breathalyzer, blood or urine test) that is administered to you after you have been arrested for DUI. This is known as the “implied consent law” in California, and the fact that you refused to give consent may be used as evidence against you in court to help establish your guilt. If you choose to take the exam, however, there is a possibility that you will be able to dispute the results on the grounds that they are wrong due to the incorrect administration of the test, faulty equipment, or some other reason. The bottom truth is that refusing to take the mandated breathalyzer test following your arrest will not result in any positive outcomes.

Arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Orange County, California? Have a Conversation with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orange County

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol can have a number of detrimental effects on one’s future. However, just because you have been charged with driving under the influence does not indicate that you will inevitably be convicted. Even if you refused to take the breathalyzer test after you were detained, there are still possible ways to lessen the negative impact of your mistake. your will depend on the particulars of your case and the specifics of how you made the mistake. It is in your best interest to get in touch with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible so that you may go over your legal rights and choices.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the first thing you should do is get in touch with a lawyer who is qualified to assist you with your case. Orange County Criminal Lawyer Halley J. Peters has vast experience successfully defending clients accused with DUI and other criminal offenses in Orange County, Irvine and across the rest of Southern California at HJP Legal. Our clients come from all over Southern California.  To book an appointment for an initial consultation please get in touch with our firm as soon as possible by calling our office at (949) 519-4955 or by using the online contact form on our website.

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