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Can you refuse a breath test to avoid a California DUI?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | DUI Defense |

You probably know that you have the right against incriminating yourself, thanks to the Fifth Amendment. You also likely understand that when a police officer requests a chemical breath test during a traffic stop that they want to charge you with driving under the influence (DUI). 

A DUI charge could lead to jail time, big fines and potentially the loss of your license. Avoiding charges or a conviction is likely in your best interest. Can you just refuse to take a chemical test so that an officer can’t gather evidence against you? 

California makes it illegal to refuse a chemical test request

If all the driver had to do was say no to a breath test to avoid a DUI charge, it would be nearly impossible for California to prevent drunk drivers from putting others in danger on the road. California’s implied consent law states that every driver operating on public roads has already given consent to chemical testing if the officer has probable cause to suspect impairment. 

The state cannot force you to perform a roadside chemical test just because they asked, but the police officer can arrest you for refusing the test. You could lose your license for up to two years. The officer could still testify against you in court, meaning that in addition to the implied consent violation, you could still face DUI charges. 

Understanding how California enforces DUI laws can help you fight back when you find yourself accused of drunk driving. Because the penalties can be fierce, take immediate steps to protect your future.