What Does Implied Consent Mean for a DUI in California?

Picture of officer holding breathalyzer test

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI in San Jose or the Bay Area, the arresting officer is required to inform you of your rights regarding BAC tests. With the stress of the situation, you may overlook some key nuances to the implied consent law.

According to California Vehicle Code, if you have a California driver’s license, then you have implicitly consented to a BAC test after a DUI arrest. If you have been arrested for a DUI, we recommend that you contact our San Jose DUI lawyer to discuss your situation.

Penalties for Chemical Test Refusal in California

Unfortunately, BAC test results can be damning evidence against suspects in DUI court cases. However, people who refuse the test can face even worse legal punishments.

Having a California driver’s license implies consent to chemical testing. Refusing a breath or blood test can result in penalties including:

  • Driver’s license suspension;
  • Fines; and
  • Additional penalties if convicted of a DUI charge.

Even without the results from a BAC test, prosecutors have successfully used a defendant’s refusal as proof of his or her guilt.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer is required to inform you of your rights regarding BAC tests. With the stress of the situation, you may overlook some key nuances to the law.

Types of DUI Tests

Police officers primarily use one of two methods to measure your BAC:

  • Breath test
  • Blood test

In most cases, you can choose which type of test will be administered. The exception is when an officer suspects you of being under the influence of drugs. If this happens, the officer must take a blood sample.

BAC Test Accuracy

Californians who have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs have a difficult decision to make when it comes to blood alcohol content (BAC) tests. When choosing a test, you should consider:

  • Breath tests are an estimate of your BAC and may falsely identify substances, such as mouthwash, as alcohol; and
  • Blood tests can be inaccurate if you ingested alcohol immediately before your arrest. Alcohol takes time to enter your bloodstream. This means that a delayed test may show a higher BAC than what existed while you were driving.

Exceptions to Chemical Test Refusal in California

The implied consent law does not require you to be conscious in order for an officer to perform a BAC test. However, you are allowed to refuse a chemical test by citing a medical condition.
For example, you can refuse a blood test if you have hemophilia or use an anticoagulant for a heart condition. The officer will instead require you to take a breath test or provide a urine sample.

Arrested for a DUI in California?

Unfortunately, California law explicitly states that you do not have the right to an attorney before deciding on whether to submit to a BAC test. Even so, a San Jose DUI attorney should be the first person you call after you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, our San Jose DUI lawyer can determine the best defense to mount against your DUI charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (408) 898-9653 or by filling out our online contact form.

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