What Happens if I Refuse Chemical Testing?

California's implied consent law requires DUI suspects to submit blood or breath tests at the request of a law enforcement officer. On the other hand, police officers cannot coerce motorists in to submitting chemical tests. Instead, the court will implement legal penalties for chemical test refusals. These consequences include:

  • Incarceration
  • Driver's License Suspension
  • DUI School

If you are convicted of DUI, these will be added to California's standard DUI penalties. If you refuse to submit blood and / or breath testing without a prior DUI conviction, you could face two additional days in jail, one extra year of driver's license suspension, and six additional months in DUI school. Without a refusal, you would face three months of mandatory DUI education.

Subsequent DUIs come with stricter sentencing. Similarly, your second chemical test refusal will lead to harsher legal consequences. Penalties for chemical test refusal on your second DUI are:

  • 96 Hours in Jail
  • License Revocation (Two Years)

A third-time DUI with a chemical test refusal is punishable by ten additional days of incarceration and three years' license revocation. For additional information about DUI penalties, click here.

Defense for Chemical Test Refusals

You can fight allegations of a chemical test refusal with many legal strategies. First, your attorney can establish a case for unlawful arrest. If you weren't actually operating the vehicle, police cannot arrest you for DUI. Other reasons for unlawful arrest include lack of "probable cause" (good reason to pull you over) and failure to produce reasonable evidence of DUI. An unlawful arrest will nullify any additional accusations, such as a chemical test refusal.

Other defenses are:

  • "I was injured and could not complete the test."
  • "The officer did not explain the consequences of refusing to take the test."

Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is a criminal defense law firm in Ventura, California. If you were arrested for DUI, our team can help you understand your rights and legal options. Learn more about our legal practice when you call our office today!