DUI & Chemical Testing Laws in California

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DUI & Chemical Testing Laws in California

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 imprisonment 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!

  • Board Certified Expert

    in DUI Defense

    Chosen as a “Top DUI Attorney” in Orange County & rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo.

    Meet Virginia L. Landry
  • Answers to All of

    Your Questions

    Visit our FAQ page to get answers to some of the most common questions.

    Read Common Questions
  • Get Help

    Immediately

    Don’t wait, time is of the essence. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.

    Get Started Today

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Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. - Orange County DUI Attorney
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