Can I Refuse To Take A Breathalyzer Test In California?

[playht_listen_button]The moment that you have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI, all sorts of thoughts will begin to rush into your head. If you have been drinking, feelings of panic and dread may start to consume you. You may also be thinking what rights, if any, that you have. Specifically, you may be wondering whether you can refuse to take a breathalyzer if the officer has requested it. My Rights Law breaks down the possible consequences of refusing to take a breathalyzer test in California.

What Is California Implied Consent Law?

In California, refusing to take a chemical test (e.g. breathalyzer, blood or urine test) after you have been lawfully arrested for DUI may result in a loss of your driver’s license for one year. This is known as California’s implied consent law. Not only that, but refusing a test will not prevent you from being charged with DUI. Your refusal may be used against you in court.

But what if you are being asked to take a breathalyzer before you have been arrested? Let’s assume that you have been pulled over by the police for going through a stop sign. After a brief interaction, the officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test. At this point, you are not under arrest. In California, you have the right to refuse this test without penalty. What this means is that you will not lose your license or suffer any additional consequences.

Will Refusing The Test Help My Case?

You must remember that if a police officer is asking you to take a chemical test, then it is likely that they know that they cannot force you to do so. What is also likely is that the officer already suspects you of being intoxicated and is simply looking for evidence to confirm that belief. As a result, it is not likely that refusing the test will cause the officer to let you go. If you refuse the test before you have been arrested, you may then be asked to perform field sobriety tests or continue to be questioned by the officer.

It is important to note that if the officer obtains a warrant, then you will not be able to refuse the test. In fact, if you do not comply with the warrant, then the police can forcibly draw your blood. You may also be charged with an additional crime for refusing a test subject to a lawful warrant.

You should also be aware that refusing the test may limit your lawyer’s ability to challenge the test results in court. For example, the testing machine may be faulty, or your blood sample may have been mishandled. If your lawyer can cast doubt on the test results, then that may result in a not guilty verdict or a dismissal of the charges altogether. As a result, refusing to take the test will not give your lawyer the chance to challenge the test results.

Should I Refuse The Breathalyzer?

The bottom line is that while you may have the right to refuse certain tests, there are extremely limited circumstances where it will benefit you. Choose your battles wisely and always remember that it may be better to fight your case in court than to risk losing your driving privileges.

The criminal defense attorneys at My Rights Law are devoted to helping Californians fight criminal charges including DUIs. With years of experience in this area, we are well-versed on California DUI laws and will work tirelessly to help you obtain the best result possible given your unique circumstances. We are ready to go to work for you today. To consult with us, call (888) 702-8882 or contact us online.