Law Office of Ronald A. Cabanayan
Law Office ofRonald A. Cabanayan

DUI ~ Criminal Defense ~ Immigration/Naturalization

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Understanding the consequences of refusing consent after DUI

After a night out, you may think nothing of driving yourself home. Whether you have had only a couple beers or you are certain you should not be behind the wheel, when a police car pulls up behind you, it is not a pleasant moment.

Police receive intense training for recognizing when a driver has consumed alcohol, but this is only the beginning of the evidence an officer may collect to use against you when your DUI charges go to court. You may feel your best course of action is to refuse to participate in roadside sobriety tests including a breath test. However, are you certain you understand the consequences of taking such a stand?

What does implied consent mean?

The law in California -- and in most other states -- is clear. In exchange for the privilege of possessing a valid state driver's license, you give your implied consent to any blood alcohol content test -- blood or breath test -- police may request after they arrest you for drunk driving. Refusing to consent to a BAC test typically results in a license suspension of up to one year or longer if you have previously refused. Some important facts about implied consent include the following:

  • Implied consent does not apply to preliminary alcohol screenings, which an officer may perform prior to arresting you with a portable, handheld device that may provide untrustworthy readings.
  • Implied consent in California relates only to tests police perform after they lawfully arrest you.
  • Implied consent does not apply to field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line, which you may refuse.
  • If you refuse any preliminary tests, police may still arrest you if they have reasonable suspicion of your impairment, such as observing your erratic driving or slurred speech.
  • Your refusal to submit to a lawful chemical BAC test may be used at your trial as evidence that you were aware of your guilt.
  • Some jurisdictions have no-refusal policies, which mean they will obtain a warrant to take your blood if you refuse a BAC test under the implied consent law.

Unfortunately, the law prevents you from seeking legal counsel when making your decision about whether to consent to the BAC test or during the administration of the test. However, it is in your best interests to obtain the advice and representation of an attorney as soon as you are able.

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Law Office ofRonald A. Cabanayan

31 N. 2nd Street
Suite 321
San Jose, CA 95113

Phone: 408-758-5673
Fax: 408-409-2547
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