California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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If the police stop and arrest you for DUI, they may request a breath test and/or blood test. But can a suspect receive penalties for refusing a blood test? The short answer is not unless the authorities have a warrant for one.
Traditionally, California’s “implied consent law” applied to DUI blood tests as well as to breath tests.1
Courts used to interpret this law to say that law enforcement could force a DUI suspect to provide a blood test.
But the Supreme Court of the United States has suggested that defendants may not be penalized for refusing to take blood tests in cases where the police have not obtained a warrant.2
Note that some exceptions to this general rule may apply in cases of emergencies and when a suspect is unconscious.
Yes, but there are consequences.
If you refuse to submit to a DUI breath test after being lawfully arrested for driving under the influence in California, you will face penalties for a chemical test refusal.
The major consequences of a chemical test refusal in California are:
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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