When you get a driver’s license in California, you must sign an agreement that states that if you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, you will consent to chemical testing in the form of a blood or breath test. This agreement is made the Implied Consent Law, section 23612 (VC) of the state Vehicle Code. This agreement does not include field sobriety tests or preliminary alcohol screener, although minors are legally required to take the latter when an officer requests them to do so.
You Have the Choice of Tests
When you are lawfully arrested, you are given the option between blood or breath tests because due to various medical conditions, some people cannot perform both tests safely. While once an alternative for chemical testing in DUI cases, urine tests are no longer offered for these arrests because they are unreliable as urine doesn’t accurately detect current usage.
Violating the California State Implied Consent Law
If you do not submit to a chemical test, you will be considered in violation of the Implied Consent Law, whether or not you actually consumed alcohol or drugs before driving. As a result, you will lose your right to drive for an entire year without any option to receive a restricted driver’s license during the suspension period. You will also be charged in the criminal court with a refusal, and if convicted of a DUI, you will face mandatory jail time.
Police Can Force You to Take a Test
California law allows the police to physically force a blood test, even if you refuse. In Vista and San Diego County, the police will restrain you and forcibly draw blood. You will then face an automatic one-year license suspension by the DMV and automatic jail time if you are convicted in the criminal court. The blood test will still be used against you in the trial.
Probable Cause is Still Required
The police are required to have probable cause to believe you were driving a vehicle under the influence to arrest you and require a chemical test. Moreover, the DMV requires the police to warn the driver of the potential consequences of failing to submit to a chemical test. If the police fail to show probable cause or neglect to tell you about the possible penalties for refusing a chemical test, your DUI attorney can use this information to fight the charges in court.