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What Does It Mean I Refused a Chemical Test?

Most California drivers are well-aware of the fact that it’s illegal for them to drive a motor vehicle on a public highway with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. The problem is, there is much more to the state’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws than that. For starters, it is possible to be charged with DUI with a BAC below the .08% legal limit. The state merely has to prove that a driver was impaired by the introduction of alcohol or drugs.

Another issue is chemical tests in the form of breath, blood and urine tests. What a lot of people don’t realize is there is a presumption that if a driver is arrested for DUI, he or she will voluntarily submit to a chemical test. This is covered under Section 23612 of the California Vehicle Code.

Under Sec. 23612(a)(1)(A) it states: “A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.

What if I Refuse a Chemical Test?

Occasionally, this does happen. Someone will be arrested for DUI and the officer will ask the suspect to take a breath or blood test and the suspect will say, “No thank you, I will not take a blood or breath test.” So, we know that DUI suspects are expected to take a chemical test when asked to, but what are the consequences for refusing?

Before we discuss the consequences, first we want to make it clear that under Sec. 23612(a)(D), the officer is required to inform the suspect that if he or she fails to complete or fails to submit to a required chemical test, their driver license will be automatically suspended for one year and if they are convicted of DUI, they will face mandatory imprisonment and a fine.

Why Drivers Refuse Blood & Breath Tests

Orange County drivers refuse blood and breath tests for various reasons. Often, they simply aren’t aware of the fact that they’re expected to take them. Other times, they think that not having BAC results will help their case.

Sometimes, drivers don’t realize that they can still be convicted of DUI, even without BAC results. Regardless of the reasons for refusing a chemical test, it will result in an automatic one year license suspension, even if the driver had zero alcohol in their system!

So, if you refused the chemical test, it means you violated VC Sec. 23612 and as a result, your license faces an automatic one year suspension. If you are convicted of DUI, you face other possible penalties, such as DUI School, fines, imprisonment, probation, AA classes, community service, etc.

Facing DUI or alcohol-related charges in Orange County? Contact us to meet with a board-certified DUI defense expert for free.