Implied Consent Laws in California DUI Cases

Implied consent is a legal term that refers to a type of approval is not verbally given by an individual but is inferred from a situation or otherwise ascribed by the law. We often see the term “implied consent” used in the context of drunk driving or DUI cases. A majority of states have some type of law, which states that an individual who drives a motor vehicle consents to chemical testing should he or she be stopped or arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

DUI Breathalyzer Tests

Once a person has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, the investigating officer will typically look for signs of intoxication. This investigation may include a Breathalyzer test where the driver blows into an instrument that measures the alcohol in the person’s breath. However, under California law, drivers have the right to decline a breath sample and law enforcement officials cannot require or force motorists to blow into a Breathalyzer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 20 percent of DUI suspects in the United States declined to take a roadside breath test when stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence. However, it is important to understand that the act of refusing to take a roadside Breathalyzer test, comes with certain penalties or consequences.

What Are Implied Consent Laws?

When you apply for a driver’s license in California, you automatically give consent to undergo chemical tests to determine impairment. If a driver refuses to submit to a test when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence, motorists do risk automatic suspension of their driver’s license along with other penalties.

The consequences of refusing to take a breath test may vary from state to state. In California, refusing a breath test could result in a citation for refusing a chemical BAC test. However, consenting to a blood draw after initially declining a breath test exempts the individual from a refusal charge.

Under California law, a lawful arrest requires the officer to have “probable cause,” which means he or she should have reason to believe that you are impaired. California law also allows motorists to choose between a blood or breath test. However, if neither is available, the motorist must take a urine test. The same applies to those who have health conditions, which prevents them from taking a blood test.

Contacting An Experienced Lawyer

The arresting officer is also required to explain the consequences of refusing a blood or urine test. Some of those consequences include loss of driver’s license, fines, and jail time if convicted of a DUI. The officer is also required under the law to tell you that you do not have the right to talk to a lawyer before taking the test and that refusing the test could be used against you in court.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of a DUI in California, the stakes are extremely high. It would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer who will examine all aspects of your case and help you fight the charges.