In the United States, all 50 states have established that the legal limit is .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This means that if a driver’s BAC registers .08% or higher, he or she commits the offense of driving under the influence (DUI). However, commercial drivers and underage drivers (under 21-years-of-age) are held to a higher standard.
In California, it’s against the law for commercial drivers to operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% and for underage drivers, they cannot drive with any detectable alcohol in their system under California’s “zero tolerance law.”
When a driver is suspected of driving under the influence, his or her BAC can be measured by one of the following:
- A breath test
- A blood sample
- Urine sample (less common)
Under 23612(a)(1)(A) of the California Vehicle Code, all individuals who drive motor vehicles in California are deemed to have given their consent to provide a blood or breath sample if suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. If a blood test is unavailable, then the person is assumed to have given consent to a urine test.
Can a DUI Suspect Choose the Test?
When suspects are lawfully arrested for DUI, they have the right to choose between a blood or breath test. However, if the person is unconscious or otherwise incapable of refusing a chemical test, a test may be administered regardless of the person’s condition.
When a police officer asks a DUI suspect to submit to a chemical test, the officer is supposed to inform the suspect that their failure to complete or submit to a chemical test will result in an automatic one-year license suspension.
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