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Implied Consent In California

  • May 25, 2017

    A driver suspected of operating a motor vehicle under the influence typically are given the option of submitted to a breath or blood test. A driver does have the ability to refuse to take one or another of these chemical tests.

    Even if a driver refuses a breath or blood test, that individual can still be charged with DUI. If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she will also face a driver’s license suspension for a year, without the possibility to obtain a so-called restricted or limited license.

    The legal doctrine upon which submitting to chemical tests following a DUI stop is called implied consent. Many California motorists have not heard of implied consent. Fewer people still understand what is meant by implied consent in regard to California DUI cases.

    What Does Implied Consent Mean?

    In California, the act of driving a car on a public roadway means the driver has given his or her implied consent to chemical testing if arrested on a reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence. Implied consent is not limited to individuals with valid driver’s licenses. Rather, in California, anyone driving a motor vehicle, with a valid license or not, is said to have given implied consent to chemical testing.

    The doctrine of implied consent has serious consequences. Specifically, because a driver has given implied consent permits the state to impose both criminal and administrative sanctions on drivers who refuse chemically testing in regard to a DUI arrest when lawfully asked to submit to this type of testing.

    Are There Tests a Driver Can Refuse?

    Because of the doctrine of implied consent, a driver cannot refuse chemical testing without facing possible sanctions. Understanding this reality, can a driver refuse some of the other tests typically associated with a DUI stop?

    When a driver is stopped by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she is likely to be asked to submit to field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are designed to test a driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to remember and follow instructions.

    A driver can lawfully decline to these field sobriety tests. As an aside, these tests can be difficult for a perfectly sober person to complete successfully.

    A driver can also refuse to take a preliminary alcohol sensory or PAS test, usually administered at the scene of a DUI stop. A motorist must keep in mind that the PAS test is not the same as the more complete breath test, which a driver cannot refuse without possible sanctions.

    There is one caveat to declining the PAS test without consequence. A driver under the age of 21 who is on probation for a prior DUI must submit to the PAS test when asked to do so.

    Schedule an Initial Consultation with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

    A person facing DUI charges best protects his or her legal rights and interests by promptly scheduling an initial consultation with a skilled, experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney. Keep in mind that a DUI lawyer typically charges no fee for an initial consultation.

    During this preliminary appointment, Los Angeles DUI attorneys provide case evaluations for prospective clients. This includes a realistic discussion of possible defenses in a particular DUI case. Legal counsel will also answer any questions you have about your case, including about refusing to submit to certain types of testing associated with a DUI stop or arrest.

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