Compliance with the law is necessary after an officer stops you for a suspected DUI. Therefore, you may face some consequences for failing to follow the instructions you receive from the arresting officers. The rationale for imposing adverse outcomes for not complying is because of the existing implied consent laws. Since the regulations are applicable throughout California, anyone violating their provisions will likely face adverse court orders.

Nevertheless, working with a skilled DUI attorney can avoid the possible consequences of not adhering to implied consent laws. Their support will help you present your position in court to increase your chances of a fair case outcome. At San Luis Obispo DUI Attorneys, we have helped hundreds of clients who face sentence enhancements for disregarding implied consent laws. With our help, you can present solid defenses or justifications for your choices to help your case.

Understanding the Implied Consent Law Applicable in California

The California Vehicle Code prohibits motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in sections 23152(a) and (f). Since all motorists with a license should know the applicable traffic laws, they are under implied consent to undertake a chemical DUI test after arrest.

Subsequently, traffic officers are mandated to administer the DUI test necessary to establish whether you are under the influence. Moreover, the implied consent law prevents you from disputing the test as you will already be arrested for a suspected DUI.

Section 23612 of the California Vehicle Code is the guiding statutory provision for officers to use, as it mandates you to comply with traffic officers and submit to tests. Therefore, failure to adhere to the implied consent law may attract legal repercussions like sentence enhancements.

The Difference Between Preliminary Alcohol Screen (PAS) and Tests After Arrest

Usually, the DUI testing process follows a standard procedure that begins with stopping you for suspected drunk driving. After you exit your vehicle, the traffic officers at the DUI stop will engage you by asking a few questions.

During this initial process, they can request you to undertake a preliminary alcohol screening(PAS) test. It serves as an early source of reference on whether you are likely to be intoxicated so that the officers can take further action if necessary.

The test may require you to participate in several field sobriety exercises, like walking for a short distance, to test your mobility. Alternatively, the officers can subject you to balance exercises or ask simple logic questions to gauge normal brain function.

Noteworthy, you are not under obligation to participate in the PAST tests, especially if you strongly believe that the officers may abuse the findings to your detriment. Therefore, the difference between a PAS test and the tests you must undertake under the implied consent laws is that the PAS is optional. You are at liberty to choose whether to participate because the officers have not yet arrested you, meaning that enforcement is unsuitable.

Subsequently, you should not face any legal repercussions for failure to participate in a PAS testing exercise because you are not under legal obligation. Any officer who threatens you of harsh outcomes is answerable for coercion, as they will have abused their authority to intimidate you.

Any person who falls under the Zero tolerance policy of DUI cases may face detrimental outcomes despite the protection. The policy prevents anyone under twenty-one years or on probation for a past DUI conviction from refusing a PAS test. These mandates are stricter on persons under this category because they should not consume alcohol based on their circumstances.

For example, it is illegal to consume alcohol in California before attaining twenty-one years, so drunk driving is a serious offense. Similarly, being on probation for a past criminal offense, including DUIs, restricts your behavior. Hence, consuming alcohol and driving under the influence with an existing record also attracts harsher restrictions.

Types of Tests Applicable to Check Your BAC Levels

Traffic officers can administer different tests depending on their level of suspicion about your intoxication levels. Their range of options also exists because some suspects may be influenced by alcohol and drugs. As a result, multiple tests may be necessary to obtain accurate results. The three main types of tests available at a DUI stop are:

Breathalyzer Tests

You may need to undertake a breathalyzer test, which focuses on retrieving information on your level of alcohol intoxication. The presiding traffic officers administer the test using a device that reads alcohol levels in your breath.

Notably, your body absorbs alcohol into the bloodstream, and your lungs receive blood. Hence, your breath can indicate the alcohol in your blood and provide the information necessary to detain you for a DUI.

A breathalyzer device has a small pipe-like attachment that you blow into. It also holds a digital or calibrated section where your blood alcohol concentration readings appear. Traffic officers rely on breathalyzer tests for many DUI stop investigations because they provide results faster than other options. Hence, you will learn whether or not a DUI charge applies in your case within minutes of taking the test.

Moreover, the results are fairly accurate unless the device is faulty, giving the officers solid grounds for detaining and charging you. You can also repeat the test if unsatisfied with the results or strongly believe the current device is faulty. In doing so, you alleviate any doubts about an unfair process.

Blood Tests

Alternatively, you may need a blood test for more accurate results on your intoxication levels. The officer often suggests this option if they strongly suspect you of intoxication from drugs. Since a breathalyzer test may not reveal traces of other substances apart from alcohol, the blood test is the most reliable.

You should note that you are more likely to undergo the blood test at the station because many DUI stops on the highway lack the tools necessary for the test. Moreover, drawing blood is a delicate procedure only experts should undertake, meaning that the officers may need to contact them from a different location.

A typical blood test involves collecting your blood sample using a needle and syringe and using chemical catalysts to test for various drugs. Your blood sample should be used within a reasonable time after collection to avoid the possibility of inaccurate results, and the catalysts should be up to standard.

Like breathalyzer tests, blood or chemical tests, as they are also known, take a relatively short time to conclude. The results are ready within a few minutes after the catalysts match the suspected drugs you took. However, if the officers suspect you of taking more than one type of drug, you may be subject to multiple blood tests that may take longer to complete.

Despite this, the test is often accurate, with errors mainly occurring if the test used the wrong catalyst or if the samples stayed out for too long. Hence, if the results are in your favor, you can expect a favorable case outcome because they prove you were not under the influence when driving. The opposite is also true, and you are more likely to face penalties if the test results indicate drug traces in your blood.

Urine Tests

Based on the results, urine tests are also applicable to establish whether you are answerable for a DUI offense. Traffic officers may encourage you to undertake a urine test where a breathalyzer device is unavailable, as the urine sample can present alcohol traces. A urine test can also present results on drug traces if the sample mixes with the correct catalyst.

A urine test may occur in two ways, depending on the sample required to produce DUI results. Firstly, the officers may request you to urinate on a strip of paper that automatically changes color upon interacting with alcohol traces. The option is mainly useful when the traffic officers suspect you of being under the influence of alcohol alone.

Conversely, they may direct you to provide a sample in a cup for later testing. By storing the sample, the testing experts helping officers can administer different chemical tests to establish whether you have drug traces on top of alcohol in the system.

Overall, urine tests are as practical as the first two options and should provide accurate results if the correct testing procedures apply.

Conditions Necessary for an Officer to Administer Blood Tests

Although implied consent laws apply after your arrest to compel you into testing, officers should ensure they meet some conditions before administering the test. These guidelines ensure that you do not face unfair circumstances that undermine the integrity of administered tests. As a result, you can use this information to be on the lookout and speak up against any form of non-procedural DUI testing. Alternatively, you can disclose the lack of appropriate legal procedures to your DUI attorney to build a strong defense after the incident.

The conditions necessary for police officers to administer a valid DUI test are:

They Should Have a Warrant for Arrest

A warrant for your arrest is essential for traffic officers before administering any test because it justifies their subsequent action. A valid arrest warrant requires an officer to have probable cause, meaning that they strongly believe you to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Additionally, the officers should justify their suspicions based on observations or PAS tests they participated in, even though they do not necessarily need to administer the PAS test. Legal provisions also form part of the backing for an officer to have a warrant for arrest, including California Vehicle Code provisions.

They Should Have Valid Suspicion in Felony DUI Cases

A felony DUI may arise from various causes, including having previous felony records within ten years. Therefore, an arresting officer should establish grounds for a felony DUI suspicion to administer a blood test lawfully.

If the traffic officers suspect you have caused an injury from drunk driving, they will look for signs like dents on your vehicle. Any traces of blood or significant impact causing damage to the car indicate whether you may have caused an accident and subsequent injury. Alternatively, the traffic officers may have responded to a call from the accident scene, giving them direct inference on your DUI causing injury.

Different case circumstances may also result in a suspected felony DUI for committing three or more wet reckless offenses within ten years. Typically, wet reckless charges carry less weight than regular DUI offenses, attracting a more lenient penalty. However, committing a wet reckless crime more than three times attracts harsh felony charges.

Subsequently, the arresting officer can run a quick background check against your name to determine whether you qualify for the felony offense. If so, they can recommend a blood test to decide whether or not you are under the influence at the testing time.

Finally, the officers can form reasonable grounds for suspicion of a felony DUI if they have a record for the same offense. They can detect this when running your background check to help them decide whether to administer a chemical test.

Information You Should Expect from Traffic Officers Before They Administer the Test

Following the correct procedure also requires the officers administering DUI tests to inform you of various facts. The information should be clear to ensure you understand your rights and the significance of the processes you are about to face. The main details for officers to provide you are:

  • You risk losing your driving license if you do not take the required tests.
  • You are at liberty to choose the type of test to undergo.
  • Failure to comply with the test requirements attracts DUI penalty enhancements.
  • You do not have the right to consult your attorney on the best testing option before taking a DUI test.

If no information was available before you began the testing process, you can raise the issue in court and request the judge to consider your circumstances. In doing so, you may avoid sentence enhancements because the testing process was not transparent, meaning that you could not undertake the requirements. If the judge finds your case compelling, they will consider the facts in issuing the penalty orders.

Defenses for Failure to Undertake the DUI Test

Your DUI attorney can help you prepare defenses for violating implied consent laws, as you will need to raise counterarguments in court. Thanks to their involvement, your case is more robust and compelling to the judge than representing yourself. Notably, not all defenses may apply to your matter, so you want to choose those that align with your case. They include:

  • The testing process involved incorrect procedures.
  • You suffer from a medical condition resulting in inaccurate DUI test results.
  • There was improper sample management, leading to inaccurate results
  • You faced unlawful arrest.

Consequences of Violating the Implied Consent Laws

If the officers followed all the required procedures to administer DUI tests, but you refused to take them, a criminal court can rule on the issue. The presiding judge will likely issue sentence enhancements for violating the implied consent laws, which will apply depending on the type of DUI charges you initially faced.  The following are the penalties available for contravening consent laws:

  1. First Time Offenders

As a first-time offender, you will face the penalties set aside for your DUI offense and receive an enhancement of up to forty-eight additional hours in county jail. Additionally, your license revocation period may extend by one year, and the judge may also order you to attend DUI school for at least nine months.

  1. Second Time Offenders

Second-time offenders will stay an additional ninety-six hours in county jail and have their license revocation period extended by two years. The judge can assess your existing DUI penalty orders and determine the severity of sentence enhancement, depending on your case circumstances.

  1. Third Time Offenders

Repeating a DUI offense thrice will attract ten daysin county jail and a license revocation extension to three years.

  1. Fourth Time Offenders

Additionally, having four DUI charges on your record attracts an additional eighteen days in county jail on top of your regular DUI sentence. Further, the presiding judge can extend your license revocation period by up to five years.

Generally, the presiding judge will use discretion to enhance your sentence depending on the case circumstances. If your matter entails any aggravating factors, the judge is more likely to issue the full enhancement order. Conversely, mitigating factors can attract a more lenient sentence enhancement despite violating implied consent laws.

Find a DUI Attorney Near Me

After facing possible sentence enhancements for violating implied consent laws, you must work closely with an experienced DUI defense team. Collaborating with experienced attorneys is beneficial to your case because they will help you make compelling case presentations. They will also provide useful legal guidelines and support throughout your DUI trial.

At San Luis Obispo DUI Attorneys, you can expect quality legal services from a team that puts your needs first. We aim to help you present strong defenses and avoid a sentence enhancement for alleged implied consent laws violations. Thanks to our years of experience helping clients needing DUI defense services in San Luis Obispo, you can rely on us to deliver. For more information on implied consent laws and how to navigate accusations related to violating them, call us today at 805-321-1000.