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Can I refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2020 | DUI

You may have had a few drinks at your favorite bar or at a friend’s house one night, and then decided to drive home. However, soon you see blue and red lights flashing in your rearview mirror, and as you pull over a police officer is asking you to step out of the car and perform a breath test.

This is a very intimidating situation to be in. Californians in such situations may want to refuse to submit to a breath test. They may believe they are not drunk, or they may be wary of giving police evidence of their sobriety. However, it is important to note that refusing a breath test when pulled over on suspicion of DUI in California has consequences.

“Implied consent” in California

When an officer stops a driver on suspicion of drunk driving, it is typical for the officer to ask the driver to submit to a breath test. California, like other states in the nation, has “implied consent” laws. This means that as part of the privilege of driving in the state, you implicitly agree to submit to a BAC test when lawfully asked to by police. In California, if you refuse to take a breath test when lawfully asked and are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended or revoked for one year.

Think carefully when refusing a breath test

So, it is important to weigh the consequences when it comes to refusing to submit to a breath test on suspicion of DUI. While a refusal may give you some leverage in some sense, there are penalties that could follow a refusal that should not be ignored.