Residents of California might want to know why it is not wise to refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when stopped roadside by police. You will probably be thinking that self-incrimination is prevented by law, so you do not need to take these tests to determine your blood alcohol level.
Implied consent and the law
When you applied for a driver’s license, you agreed to certain rules. Since driving is a privilege, you had to take and pass a test, both written and driving. After you were granted the privilege of driving, you agreed to follow certain rules and regulations. This means that you agreed to the implied consent laws of your particular state.
You can refuse the sobriety tests
It is very difficult to perform coordination tests when being confronted by law enforcement, especially when you are facing the prospect of a DUI arrest. The Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs require you to follow the instructions precisely as they are being explained which can be difficult when you are nervous. Additionally, similar to riding a bike, coordination tests improve with practice and most people don’t have a chance to practice FSTs. If you refuse to take the FSTs you will almost certainly be arrested.
Although you can refuse a Breathalyzer test offered at the scene, which is called a PAS test, if you refuse to take a breath or blood test following your arrest, you will be charged with a DUI refusal which involves increased penalties and the suspension of your driving privilege. There are ways to fight refusal DUI’s in court due to the absence of any blood alcohol evidence but the fact of the refusal will be argued as consciousness of guilt and almost always the DMV will suspend your driving privilege for at least a year. If you do take the sobriety test after a few drinks, you may end up passing it. You just never know.
Contact a law firm if you need representation for a criminal charge. It may be able to protect your rights and prevent long-lasting consequences for your future. If you have a drunk driving charge, an experienced and knowledgeable criminal law attorney may help you get the best possible outcome.