Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law

Can I refuse a breathalyzer in California?

When pulled over under suspicion of a DUI in California, you may have to submit a breath or blood test. Most drivers are unclear about what the law says or if they have to submit to a portable breathalyzer test. The answer is that you do not have to submit a test. It is in a driver’s rights to refuse. However, by refusing, you may set yourself up for further consequences.

In accordance with California Vehicle Code, if you have a driver’s license and drive a vehicle then you have given consent to a chemical test or a breath test to determine blood alcohol content. Now, this is true the officer arrests you. If the officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then your refusal may spell out more consequences for you.

The code states that a person who refuses to complete or submit to a test will result in a fine and imprisonment if convicted. In addition, the driver can lose his or her license for a period of a year. If a driver violates the law more than once in ten years, then he or she loses driving privileges for two years. Now, keep in mind that you may not have to submit to the breathalyzer test during the traffic stop. However, if the officer has probable cause to arrest, then you will have to take the test when you arrive at the station.

The information provided is only to inform on breathalyzer rules in California. It is not by any means legal advice.