DUI Chemical Test Refusal Penalties

When you’re pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you may not realize that you can’t refuse to a DUI breath or blood test. California has an implied consent law that requires you submit to either one of those tests if you’re lawfully arrested for DUI. In other words, when you drive anywhere in California, you have already nonverbally consented to taking a DUI blood or breath test.

If you refuse to take the test generally results in increased penalties. These penalties are in addition to any other standard DUI penalties in California.
Additional penalties consist of:

For a first DUI, you:
• Spend an additional two days (48 hours) in jail
• Have a suspended driver’s license for one year
• Spend nine months in California DUI school (normally you’d spend three months)

For a second DUI, you:
• Spend an addition four days (96 hours) in jail
• Receive a two-year license revocation

For a third DUI, you:
• Spend 10 extra days (240 hours) in jail 
• Receive a 3-year license revocation

You lead a busy life with work, school or driving the children to their events. The worst part of receiving a license suspension or revocation is that you don’t have an option to request a restricted license. With a restricted license you can drive to work or school and to DUI School. Without one, you simply can’t drive anywhere. If you decide to take your chances and drive on a suspended license, you could be arrested, face mandatory jail time and have your car impounded.

You don’t want any of these thing to happen. However, if you have refused to take a DUI blood or breath test, stay positive. Just because you are charged with a chemical test refusal doesn’t mean that the charge or DUI charge will turn into a conviction.

Legal Defenses to California DUI Chemical Test Refusal
Yes, you do have legal defenses if you are charged with California DUI Chemical Test Refusal such as:

Your arrest was not lawful because:
• You weren’t driving at the time of the traffic stop
• The arresting officer did not have probable cause to pull you over
• The arresting officer did not have any reason to believe you were driving under the influence

It’s important to remember that the state’s implied consent law only applies after you’ve been lawfully arrested for DUI. For a lawful arrest, an officer must have probable cause, or a suspicion that you are driving under the influence. If the police stop or arrest you for DUI without probable cause, your case will be dismissed. This means that the allegation of chemical test refusal will be dismissed too.
Please Note: You are legally obligated to take the DUI chemical test if you are arrested for DUI. It doesn’t matter if you think or know it isn’t a lawful arrest. Remember, your attorney will challenge whether your arrest was lawful or not.

• The arresting officer didn’t clearly explain to me the consequences of refusing to submit to the test

California law requires that you are advised of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test. If you don’t receive an explanation or the explanation isn’t clear, your refusal must be excused.

• You refusal resulted from an injury that wasn’t cause by or an outcome of drinking or drugs
If you were incapacitated, you may be excused for refusing to submit to the chemical test. For example, if you sustained a head injury or had an epileptic seizure, then you’re considered incapacitated. Your incapacitation must be caused by reasons out of your control.

If you were incapacitated because you were drinking or taking drugs, your chemical test refusal won’t be excused. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if the drugs were prescription and you were ordered to take them by your doctor. Under California law, you are responsible for refusing to take a chemical test because you voluntarily consumed the alcohol or drugs.

Our attorneys are not just attorneys. They are former prosecutors and police officers who now use what they have learned in their prior careers to assist people facing DUI.

Our attorneys know that it’s important fully understand the nuances of California DUI chemical test refusal laws. To help you better understand the specifics of California DUI chemical test refusals, we have the following list of common questions asked by many of our clients: