California DUI Chemical Test Refusals
Refusing to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in California can result in serious consequences for drivers. Anyone facing chemical test refusal allegations in southern California would be well-advised to contact an experienced Santa Clarita DUI defense attorney at The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann to obtain more information about his or her legal rights and options. The following web page as well as this website's Chemical Test Refusal Resource Center will give a comprehensive overview of California law as it pertains to chemical test refusal allegations in DUI cases.
California Implied Consent Law
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23612, all drivers are required to consent to a chemical test if arrested for suspicion of drunk driving. This is known as the "California Implied Consent Law."
Though most people can refuse to take field sobriety tests, including the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, submitting to the PAS test does not excuse you from having to submit to the formal chemical tests mentioned above. To refuse the chemical test will result in a chemical test refusal allegation which carries with it greatly enhanced penalties. Driver's under the age of 21 or drivers who are on probation for prior DUI's may not refuse to submit to a PAS test.
What Constitutes a Chemical Test Refusal?
Under California law a driver is required to submit to a chemical test after he or she has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. After the driver is arrested, the arresting officer is required to admonish the driver of his or her obligation under the California Implied Consent Law to submit to a chemical test. The officer is also required to advise the driver of the consequences that stem from either willful refusal to submit to a chemical test or willful refusal to complete a chemical test.
The Chemical Test Admonishment which falls under California Vehicle Code Sections 23154 and 23612 is usually read verbatim from the Department of Motor Vehicle DS-367 form which serves as the officer's sworn affidavit of arrest and also in part serves a temporary driver's license for the driver. One offer plus one rejection generally amounts to a chemical test refusal and a driver's consent to submit to a chemical test must be clear and unambiguous.
Forms of Chemical Test Refusal
One Offer Plus One Rejection is a Refusal
One offer plus one rejection generally amounts to a chemical test refusal. For example, if the officer advises you that you must submit to and complete a chemical test and offers you a choice of tests and your response is, “No I will not take a chemical test,” the officer has no obligation to offer the test again. This will be deemed a refusal.
Consent Must be Clear and Unambiguous
A driver's consent to submit to a chemical test must be clear and unambiguous. It cannot be conditional or qualified. For example, "Ok, I'll take a blood test," or "Ok, I'll take a breath test," would not be deemed a refusal because the consent is obviously clear and unambiguous. On the other hand, if the driver's response is, "I'll only take a test if I can call a lawyer first," or "I don't know, I can't decide, I'll have to think about it," the driver will likely be found to have refused.
Silence Will Often Constitute a Refusal
Silence in the face of repeated requests to submit to a chemical test or to choose a test will be considered a refusal.
Penalties for Chemical Test Refusal
As with all DUI matters, the driver must fight the case both criminally in court and administratively at a California DMV hearing. The driver or driver's attorney, if he has one, has ten days from the date of arrest to contact the appropriate California DMV Driver Safety office to request a hearing and stay (delay) of driver's license suspension pending the outcome of the hearing. If the DMV is not contacted within ten days of the arrest, the driver's license will automatically be suspended after 30 days from the date of the arrest.
Aggressive and Effective Legal Defense
If you or a loved one is facing chemical test refusal allegations, you need an experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer in Santa Clarita who will fight the allegations and help you keep your driving privileges intact.
The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann provides comprehensive DUI defense by fighting for the rights of clients in court and by providing quality representation at the administrative hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Call our law offices today for a free confidential consultation.