DUI Chemical test refusal cases involve a driver refusing to submit a chemical test to law enforcement and carry harsh consequences for those involved. The consequences come from the DMV, and from the criminal courts and they include mandatory jail time, lengthy driver’s license suspension, points on the driver’s record, an lengthened alcohol education class and increased insurance rates.
DMV consequences of DUI Refusal to submit chemical test
A lengthy driver’s license suspension is the DMV penalty for refusing to provide law enforcement with a blood or breath sample following a DUI case. For alcohol related DUI cases, the driver is given a choice of blood or breath testing of their blood alcohol content. For drug related DUI cases, the driver is only afforded a blood test. If the driver refuses to submit a blood or breath test, law enforcement may seek and obtain a search warrant from a judge to force the chemical test. If a warrant is used go get the blood or breath test, the DMV will still treat the case as a chemical test refusal on the part of the driver.
DUI Refusal Driver License Suspension in California
A 1, 2 or 3 year license suspension will be enforced by the DMV if a driver is found to have been lawfully arrested for DUI, and refused to submit a chemical blood or breath sample to law enforcement.
The 1 year license suspension is given to first offenders, who are facing their first DUI arrest. The 2 year suspension is given to a driver who has a prior DUI, while the 3 year suspension is given to a driver who has 2 or more prior DUI cases, and refuses to submit a chemical sample in their most recent DUI arrest.
The penalty from DMV is harsh for a reason: the DMV has a mandate to enforce strict compliance with DUI laws and with chemical testing by law enforcement.
For DUI refusal to submit chemical test cases, the DMV has to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, the following:
1. The Driver was lawfully arrested for suspicion of violating CVC 23152 or CVC 23153
2. The Driver willfully refused to complete a blood or breath test after being properly admonished by law enforcement
California’s Implied Consent Law: What you need to know
The law that allows the DMV to punish DUI Chemical test refusal cases so harshly comes from CVC 23612, known as California’s “Implied Consent” law. Under the Implied consent law, a driver who is driving upon public roadways is considered to have given law enforcement consent to search their blood or breath for evidence of drug or alcohol impairment. This “implied consent,” is implied by the very act of driving in on public roads and using public roads for travel.
California’s court consequences of a DUI Chemical test Refusal: mandatory jail-time
In addition to a lengthy (1, 2 or 3 year license suspension from DMV), a driver who refuses to provide law enforcement with a chemical test following a legitimate DUI arrest faces a similar court mandated license suspension and mandatory jail time:
1. For 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the driver’s prior record
2. A minimum of 48 hours jail time for the refusal, in addition to the penalties associated with the original DUI case. The jail time may be given “concurrently” or “consecutively,” meaning the the jail time may be added to jail time already imposed on the driver for the DUI case.