Can You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test? YES! And Here’s Why You Should

When it comes to matters of impaired driving, the law is clear on one thing in California: you can refuse a breathalyzer test. While this may seem counter-intuitive, as you could be subject to penalties for such refusal, there are a few important points to understand. 

If you find yourself facing a DUI charge, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free appeal consultation!

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test

First of all, it’s important to understand your rights when it comes to DUI cases in California. If you are pulled over by law enforcement and asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, you have the right to refuse. This refusal cannot be used against you in court as evidence of guilt or impairment. Even if the officer has probable cause to believe that you have been drinking and driving, your refusal to take the test cannot be used against you. 

However, California has an implied consent law in place which states that if you refuse a breathalyzer test, there is still a penalty. This can result in the suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year and/or a fine. In addition, if you are convicted of a DUI and there was no breathalyzer test taken, the court may look more harshly upon you as there is less evidence to prove your innocence. 

California Implied Consent Law

If you hold a driver’s license in California, it is assumed that you have given your consent to undergo a blood or breath test if you are arrested for DUI. This means that your consent is implied. Refusing to take a blood or breath test after being arrested can result in additional penalties.

Under California Vehicle Code Section 13353, if an officer has reasonable grounds to arrest you and you decline to take a blood or breath test, your license will be automatically suspended for one year, and you will be required to attend a nine-month DUI program. These penalties are separate from the consequences of a DUI offense.

It’s important to note that the implied consent law does not require you to take a handheld Breathalyzer test during a DUI stop, which usually occurs before actual arrest. The police may ask you to undergo a “preliminary alcohol screening.” You have the right to refuse this test without facing any consequences. However, if you are subsequently placed under arrest, you will be required to submit to a blood or breath test.

Why You Should Refuse a Breathalyzer Test

The primary reason to refuse a breathalyzer test in California lies in the accuracy of the test itself. Breathalyzer tests are known to have a margin of error and can often lead to false positives based on various factors, such as the use of certain medications, medical conditions like diabetes or hypoglycemia, and even diet. Additionally, the way in which the test is administered can greatly affect the results—factors like calibration of the device, the officer’s experience in administering the test, and environmental factors could all contribute to a falsely inflated reading. 

Refusing the breathalyzer test can eliminate the chance of a false positive, which can be a crucial part of your DUI defense. It also prevents the prosecution from having solid evidence of your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time you were pulled over. Without this evidence, proving impairment can be more challenging, thereby increasing your chances of a favorable outcome. 

In conclusion, while refusing a breathalyzer test in California does come with penalties, it can also provide a strategic advantage in your defense. It is always advisable to consult with a knowledgeable defense attorney when facing any DUI charge, as they can guide you through the complexities of California law, helping you make informed decisions that protect your rights. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have 40+ years of experience with cases like yours. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are facing a DUI charge, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.