What Is Implied Consent in Traffic Law?

Under California’s implied consent law, any driver in our state is required to take a breath test when arrested for suspicion of DUI. The breath test is mandatory and is done to determine the level of your blood alcohol concentration . Under California law, if your BAC measures .08 percent or higher, you are legally drunk and will face a DUI known as a “per se” charge. You can also be charged with DUI even if your BAC is lower than .08 percent if law enforcement has witnessed evidence of impairment while driving.

What happens if you refuse to submit to such a test? You will face the following consequences:

  • Loss of your driver’s license for a specific time period
  • A potential increase of criminal penalties associated with a California DUI

The situation as described above rests on the fact that you have already been stopped and arrested for DUI. What if you have only been stopped but, in fact, not arrested yet? What if you are asked to take a preliminary alcohol screening, known as a PAS test before being arrested? This may be done so that the police officer can then decide whether you are impaired or not. This test could be compared to a roadside breath test, like being asked to count backwards or walk straight. Under these circumstances, you are not required by law to undergo a PAS; you can refuse without criminal consequences unless you’re under 21 or you are still on probation for having committed a previous DUI.

Blood Tests under Implied Consent

The next consideration in regard to implied consent involves blood tests. Blood tests are generally done to determine whether you are driving with drugs in your system. These tests are used to detect such drugs as cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, marijuana, and others. The implied consent law in California used to apply to drug tests as well, meaning that you were required to submit to such a test or face the consequences. However, in a case that went to the Supreme Court, it was decided that you could refuse a blood test request if it was not backed up by a warrant obtained by law enforcement first.

You can be required to take a blood test under certain circumstances in California. These include:

  • Law enforcement has obtained a warrant allowing them to conduct the test
  • You are under suspicion of having committed a felony DUI or
  • You are under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) whether illegal substances, prescription medicines, or over-the-counter drugs or a combination

Penalties for Test Refusal

The additional penalties you may face when refusing a chemical test may include added time in county jail as well as a longer DUI educational program. Added jail time will likely increase in every subsequent DUI for which you are convicted over a 10-year period.

It is also important to know that implied consent applies to not only California state residents who hold licenses here but to anyone driving in California with a license from another state.

Call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich for Legal Representation

Regardless of the circumstances under which you find yourself charged with a DUI anywhere in Riverside, Temecula, Corona, or the rest of the county, you should never face a DUI alone. At our firm, we have decades of legal experience to apply to your case and will do everything under the law to help you reach a favorable outcome.

Reach out to us at (951) 506-6654 to arrange to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney serving Riverside today.

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