Truth About Chemical Test Refusals

Chemical tests in the form of blood, breath or urine tests are mandated by state law and are used to determine whether or not a person is legally intoxicated under Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code. Law enforcement cannot administer a blood or breathalyzer test until after a driver has been lawfully arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

Under California’s Implied Consent law, when you receive your driver license, it is presumed that you will submit to a chemical test when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. The penalty for refusing a chemical test is an automatic one-year license suspension.


Section 13353 of the California Vehicle Code explains that refusing to take or complete a chemical test after a lawful arrest results in automatic one-year license suspension. The statute goes on to say that refusing a chemical test within 10 years of a prior offense will result in a two-year suspension.

A three-year suspension applies to drivers who:

  • Have two or more DUI convictions.
  • Have two or more license suspensions or revocations on their record.
  • Any combination of two or more convictions resulting in license suspension or revocation.

Although the California Vehicle Code says that your license can be automatically suspended for refusing a chemical test, it is important to remember that at this point, you have not yet been convicted ofDUI.

Requesting a DMV Hearing

After an arrest for refusing a chemical test, just as with a DUI arrest, you will be given a 30-day temporary driving permit. At this point, we highly encourage you to request a DMV hearing and to do so within 10 days. The DMV hearingis your only chance to contest license suspension. You can do so by showing that your arrest was unlawful, the officer didn't advise you of your rights or the officer did not properly instruct you on taking the chemical test.

Related: Why Haven’t I Heard About My DUI Hearing?

Contact an Orange County DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. if you refused or failed to complete a chemical test; there is still hope for you to get your license back.Call today for your free consultation.

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