California Implied Consent Laws

California Implied Consent Laws Explained

If you have been arrested for DUI in California, it is important that you understand your rights. One of these rights that is often misunderstood is your right to refuse sobriety testing. When you are stopped by police in California and intoxication is suspected, you will be asked to take tests in order to evaluate your sobriety. Some tests you can decline without penalty, others you cannot. These tests are covered under a law called Implied Consent and violating that law will lead to license suspension.

California's Implied Consent law is means that if you are asked by police to take a chemical test that measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you will submit to such a test. The officer must have a valid reason for requesting this test such as belief that you are intoxicated. The California Vehicle code section 23612 states as follows:

(a) (1) (A) A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.

When you get a driver's license, you are basically giving your consent to take a chemical BAC test. If you later refuse when asked to do so, you violate your implied consent. Implied consent violations mean license suspension and other penalties if you are convicted of DUI.

What Tests are Covered Under Implied Consent Laws?

If you are driving in California and are stopped by police, they will ask you to take a sobriety test to check to see if you are intoxicated. If the officer sees signs of impairment such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol, they have a reason to suspect you are DUI. The officer will then likely ask to submit to several tests. All drivers should make sure that they understand their sobriety test rights. Some people think that refusing a test is proof that you have something to hide, but in reality you can decline several types of tests with no consequences.

The first tests that you likely will be asked to take are field sobriety tests. These include physical tests that require you to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. You can, and should, decline taking these tests and will not be penalized in any way for refusing. The second type of test that officers will ask you to take is a breathalyzer test. In California, officers use an Alcosensor Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device to measure the BAC in drivers' breath. These devices are prone to misleading results and are not covered under implied consent. Many people believe that they have to take a PAS breath test, but this is only a preliminary test. These tests can be inaccurate yet the results can still be used against you in court. If you are asked to take a PAS breath test by police, most many attorneys will advise you to refuse.

The only tests that you should take are a blood, breath or urine test that is taken once you are arrested. Police will take you back to the station and get a sample to test. If you refuse to give a sample, you will be advised of implied consent laws and if you refuse again, a sample will not be taken. You will still be charged with DUI but you will also have to face the penalties of implied consent refusal.

California Implied Consent Refusal

When you refuse a chemical BAC test, you will face one year of license suspension regardless of the outcome of your DUI case. If you have refused a chemical test in the past, the suspension period will be even longer. Refusal license suspensions are referred to by California DUI attorneys as ‘hard suspension' meaning that you will not be eligible for a limited driving permit. You can also face additional sentencing if you refused a chemical test and are convicted of DUI. If you want to learn more about the consequences of refusing a state administered chemical sobriety test, call our office right away.

Refusals can result in the following penalties on your driver's license:

  • Under 21:
    • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year
    • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years
    • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years
  • Over 21:
    • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year
    • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years
    • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.
California Implied Consent Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in California, it is vital that you contact an experienced lawyer. Not only can an attorney build a defense case for you and help you fight your DUI charges, they can work to get your refusal revoked. The only way to avoid the consequences of violating implied consent is to prove that you were never informed by police that a refusal would be a violation or to work with the prosecution to take back your refusal. In some cases this may occur in exchange for guilty plea. We can explain to you more about your defense options so call our office today. Best of all, you can speak to a skilled DUI lawyer for free when you call us and set up a free consultation.

Our Attorneys

  • Troy slaten 12 2012
    Troy Slaten

    Troy Slaten is the managing attorney for Floyd, Skeren & Kelly's Cr...

  • Robert dudley 3 8 2013
    Robert Dudley

    Robert Dudley is an associate attorney with the firm’s Beverly Hill...

  • John floyd 12 2012
    John Floyd

    In 1987, John B. Floyd established the law offices of Floyd, Skeren...

  • Amanda manukian 12 2012
    Amanda Manukian

    Amanda Manukian is a partner at the Law Office of Floyd, Skeren & K...

Contact Us Today

Fsk logo

For a free consultation, please contact our firm at (310) 824-8896 or complete the form in the sidebar. We have office locations all over the state for your convenience.

California Defense Attorneys

Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP is a criminal defense law firm serving Southern California. We represent clients who have been charged with DUI and other crimes that are looking for aggressive defense lawyers who can help them fight the charges they face. For more information, contact our firm today.