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Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Once you are arrested on the suspicion of committing a DUI, you will likely be taken to a police lab.  This is where the police will want to conduct a breathalyzer, as well as other chemical and physical tests. 

The states that require a chemical test, including California, require so immediately after an arrest for a DUI. This is a requirement by law. 

There are three types of chemical tests - the breathalyzer test, a blood test, and a urine test. 

Refusing the Breathalyzer Test 

If you refuse a chemical test, it is a separate offense under California law, and this is due to California’s “implied consent” law. The “implied consent” law makes it mandatory for any driver in California, who has been lawfully arrested for a DUI, to submit to a breath test to determine his/her blood alcohol concentration

You can refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, or any chemical test, but there will be consequences. 

If you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, you have little to gain and much to lose. It is designed to determine the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of your arrest. Cooperating with the police is always advisable in these situations. 

If you choose to refuse a chemical test, then your driver’s license will be suspended automatically. You may also face higher fines. This is regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted of a DUI or not. . In the end, this can hurt your case more than help.

Other consequences may include a mandatory 48 hour hold; but this is not always the case. Normally, once you pay your bond, you are released. 

Submitting to Other Chemical Tests 

If you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test, you may elect to have a urine or blood test conducted instead. Typically, these are used more often in DUIs involving drugs; however, they can be used in DUIs involving alcohol. 

An advantage to refusing the breathalyzer and instead submitting to a blood or urine test is that it may take longer to actually be conducted. This means that there is more time for the alcohol to leave your bloodstream, resulting in a lower BAC. 

Search Warrant for Chemical Tests 

In extreme circumstances, the police can request a search warrant in order to obtain your blood as evidence. If a search warrant is granted, the police can draw your blood for evidentiary purposes without your consent. 

To learn more about other types of testing for DUI stops and arrest, please visit 


H Law Group Online

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