As Orange County
DUI defense attorneys, we have many goals when it comes to defending people against
driving under the influence charges. One of our goals is to help people
better understand California’s DUI laws, especially since they can
be difficult for the average non-attorney to understand.
In this post, we’re going to provide a brief explanation of California’s
laws as they pertain to DUI and chemical testing. When we refer to chemical
testing, we’re talking about breath, blood and urine tests, which
measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s system.
For the most part, law enforcement uses
blood and breath tests for
DUI cases, but occasionally they will use a urine test, especially when they
are testing for the presence of alcohol and drugs in the DUI suspect’s system.
What the Law Says About Chemical Testing
Under Section 23612 of the California Vehicle Code, when a person drives
a motor vehicle in the state, he or she is deemed to have given their
“consent” to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine
for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content in their blood.
The chemical testing would be incidental to a lawful
DUI arrest and it would be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer
who has “reasonable cause” to believe the suspect was driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs under Sections 23140, 23152, or 23153.
What are the consequences of refusing?
If you are pulled over on a DUI stop, or if you’re stopped for another
reason and after talking to you, the officer suspects that you’re
driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even lawfully
prescribed medication, and you refuse to submit to a chemical test after
being arrested for DUI, you will face legal consequences, specifically
a mandatory driver’s license suspension even if you were NOT drinking
prior to driving.
If you fail to complete a chemical test after a DUI arrest, or if you fail
to take a chemical test at the request of a police officer, you will face
an automatic one year driver’s license suspension, and mandatory
if you are ultimately found guilty of DUI under Sec. 23152 or 23153.
Do I have a choice between tests?
Under California law, if you are lawfully arrested for driving under the
influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, you
will be given the choice between a blood or breath test, and the officer
will ask, “Which one do you want to take?”
Which test should you take? If you were not drinking at all, or if you
had very little to drink, we recommend taking a blood test because it
is more accurate than a blood test.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is questionable (you’re
worried it may be too high), or if you probably had too much to drink,
then we recommend choosing the breathalyzer test because it is more fallible
and prone to error, thus it’s easier to challenge in court.
If you’re looking for an experienced DUI attorney,
call our office to work with a Board Certified DUI specialist who is a member of the National
College for DUI Defense!