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How Does a Refusal Affect my San Diego DUI Case During Trial?

Many of our clients believe that because they have refused to take a Blood Alcohol Test during the time of their DUI arrest, there will not be enough evidence to find them guilty of a DUI. This, however, is not true. A person may be found guilty of a DUI based on the arresting officer’s observations and any statements made by the driver.

When a person has been charged with a criminal offense, they have the option to accept a plea bargain made by the prosecutor. A plea bargain is an offer for the person being tried to plead guilty for a charge and in exchange receive a lower penalty. If a plea bargain is taken, the person charged will plead guilty to a charge before the criminal Judge and will be given a lowered sentence. If the charged person does not accept the plea bargain, further negotiations may be made. If there is no agreement, the case proceeds to trial.

Lets say David has been charged with a DUI where he has refused to take any BACstest. Officer’s observed him as slurring, smelling of alcohol and weaving in and out of lanes. David believe that because he refused to take the BAC they will have no proof as to his intoxication and the case will be dismissed. Prosecutors offer David a plea bargain. They explain to him that if he pleads to a misdemeanor DUI, they will drop any enhanced penalties because of the refusal, and give him the lower end of the legislative penalty for Driving while intoxicated in California. If David takes the offer, he will go before a Criminal Judge and plead guilty to a DUI, be sentenced and his case is closed. However, if David decided he absolutely believes he is innocent, or that there is not enough evidence to find him guilty, he will proceed to trial.

The mistake many people make in a DUI case is that they believe there is not enough evidence to find them guilty of a DUI when they have refused to take a BAC test. Consequently, they do not take a plea bargain and opt to go to trial instead so that the court can make a finding.sWhen there is a trial for a DUI in which the driver has refused to take a BAC test, the jury receives special instructions when determining a verdict. You can use the refusal as an admission of guilt if the person refused to submit for a BAC test after they were given an admonishment of rights. This assumption may only be used if it was given AFTER the admonishment of rights were read and if they were read properly so that the person understood which rights they were giving up.

Due to the fact that there is an assumption of guilt associated with a refusal in trial, it is in the best interest of a person who is charged with a DUI to retain an experienced San Diego DUI attorney. A knowledgeable DUI specialist will be able to provide a thorough analysis of the facts and determine which course of action and possible defenses will be best for the outcome of the case.