What If I Refuse to Take a Chemical Test After a DUI Arrest?

After being arrested for a DUI in California, law enforcement will request that you take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you think you are over the limit, would it be wise to refuse to take such a test?

According to the state’s “implied consent” law, it is implied that a driver’s license holder has given their consent to a chemical test after being arrested for a DUI. For an arrest to be considered lawful, the police must have probable cause to believe you’ve been drunk driving.

Refusing to submit to a chemical test after an arrest results in serious consequences--in addition to the potential criminal penalties associated with a conviction. The penalties for refusal depend on your criminal history.

Refusal enhancement penalties include:

  • First-time DUI - Driver’s license suspension for up to one year with a maximum jail sentence of up to 48 hours.
  • Second-time DUI - Driver’s license suspension for up to two years with a maximum jail sentence of 96 hours.
  • Third-time DUI - Driver’s license suspension for up to three years with a maximum jail sentence of 10 days.

Remember, California’s implied consent laws only apply to chemical testing required after a DUI arrest. This means that you can refuse to take a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests (FSTs) before being arrested. The main point of these tests is to gather enough evidence for probable cause.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, our Fresno criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch is ready to protect your rights, reputation, and future. Whether you refused to take a chemical test or failed it, we will do our best to help either get your charges dismissed or significantly reduced. Just because you are arrested doesn’t mean that you are guilty, so let us fight for you!

Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.

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