When an individual is stopped or contacted, and there is a reasonable suspicion that they are driving under the influence, they will be asked to take a blood or breath test for alcohol or drugs. Refusal to take the official test can result in the loss of their driver’s license for at least a year or more by the DMV, depending on whether there are priors.
Even if the person refuses, the officers can get a telephonic warrant to draw blood against the defendant’s will, and there are times when a warrant may not even be necessary. Then, you can end up with a blood result in addition to all the negatives of a DUI refusal by both the DMV and the Court.
What drivers should know about refusals
In order to be an actual refusal, the officer must have a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug. The officer must also inform you that California law requires you to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol or drug content of your blood. If you refuse, your license will be suspended one, two or three years depending on if there are priors. The refusal can be used against you in Court and result in additional custody and fines.
You do not have a right to an attorney before taking the test, and if you cannot complete the test you choose, then you must submit to the other.
After the refusal
After reading the admonition above in detail, the officer will then ask you to take a breath test or blood test. They will record your answer, and if you refuse, they will then generally get a telephonic warrant to draw your blood and issue you a refusal DMV Suspension Notice and Temporary License. You will then have 10 days to set a hearing to challenge the refusal suspension. Failure to call DMV Licensing within 10 days waives any challenge to that suspension. Individuals with priors on probation or under 21 years of age are also required to take the field breath test (also known as a PAS) or suffer a refusal suspension and probation violation.
In most cases, a DUI refusal can hurt your case more than it helps. An attorney can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case.