Driving under the influence (DUI) is never a brilliant idea no matter where you live. California, like the other states, has its own laws with regard to DUI offenses, and this includes consequences for refusing to yield to a Breathalyzer test.
If a law enforcement officer suspects that you could be driving under influence, they will ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. The goal of this test is to establish your BAC level and determine whether you are breaking the law or not. So what happens if you refuse to take the test?
California is an implied consent state
California, like most states, has adopted what is referred to as “implied consent laws.” This means that by driving a vehicle on public roads, you agree to submit to any blood, breath or urine chemical test to determine alcohol and drug content whenever you are asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. In other words, implied consent law makes it mandatory for any driver in California to yield to a test to determine their blood drug or alcohol level should they be lawfully arrested on DUI suspicion.
Consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test
Implied consent law exists with the reasoning that driving in California is a privilege rather than a right, and that refusing to yield to the test can attract some serious consequences. According to California law, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately for one year if you decline to take a breath, blood or urine test. And if you refuse the test and are later convicted for drunk driving, then you will face mandatory jail time, fines and penalties associated with refusal to take the test.
If you refuse to take the test within 10 years of a separate drunk driving conviction, your driver’s license will be suspended for two years. And if the refusal happens within 10 years of two or more drunk driving convictions, you will lose your right to drive for three years.
When you are pulled on suspicion of driving under influence, you will likely be required to take a Breathalyzer test. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you understand the implications of refusing the test.