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The Law of Implied Consent … Knowing Your Rights And Obligations After Being Arrested For Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol in California

California law requires drivers as a condition of issuing them a license to submit to a chemical test if requested by a police officer when one has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers have a choice to submit to a breath sample or blood sample to determine the alcohol content, if any, in their bloodstream.

This is implied consent law makes it a separate aggravating circumstance to a drunk driving case, if the driver either refuses or fails to complete one of these two tests. The law requires not only that the driver suspected submit to a test, but requires completion of a test culminating in a result. One’s effort, for example by blowing into a breathalyzer machine is not sufficient unless a result is obtained. If a driver will not, or cannot complete the test chosen, then they must submit to the remaining text.

Should a suspected driver failed to submit to and complete a blood alcohol test to determine the alcohol content, or drug presence, they will be also charged with a refusal. This enhancement, can not only result in mandatory jail time, but subjects the driver to greatly enhance license suspension. For example, a driver who has been arrested for a DUI takes a breath test with a result of .24. This driver should only receive a one-month suspension of their driving privilege as long as they enroll in an appropriate alcohol program.

A driver either refuses, or fails to complete a blood alcohol test of their breath or blood face a license suspension of one year. Essentially their punishment is 12 times harsher than having taken a test, even with a high alcohol score.

Clearly, based upon the above example, it should seem obvious that complying with the requirements of implied consent law, rather than refusing to complete a test, has dramatically lessssevere consequences.

Should your case go to trial, and you have refused to take or complete a chemical test, the jury in most cases would be instructed that failure to comply with this law may show your consciousness of guilt. This additional negative inference, can often weigh extremely negative in the minds of many jurors. Our Los Angeles DUI firm has defended drivers under these circumstances, for many years, and prefers its clients to have less charges against them.