Consequences of a DUI Test Refusal in California

If a California law enforcement officer pulls you over and suspects that you are intoxicated, they will typically ask you to submit to an alcohol or drug test to measure your level of inebriation or intoxication. This experience can be concerning and overwhelming for most drivers, especially if this is your first incident of being pulled over and asked to comply with a test. It’s natural to wonder whether you have the right to refuse the officer’s request to test you for intoxication and, if so, what the potential consequences may be. In California, refusing to submit to a test may lead to enhanced penalties if you are convicted of a DUI offense. Under state law, a defendant who is convicted of a DUI crime faces enhanced penalties for refusing a chemical test. Depending on the circumstances and specific details of your case, the enhanced penalties may include an automatic license suspension and mandatory jail time. It’s important to recognize that these penalties will occur in addition to and concurrent with the penalties for the underlying DUI conviction

However, the DUI refusal enhancement may only be imposed in certain circumstances, provided the arresting officer followed all of the legal requirements at the scene. If you are facing DUI charges in Palmdale or Lancaster, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is ready to represent your best interests and keep your future bright. With over 35 years of experience and as a certified criminal law specialist, he has the knowledge and expertise you need to fight these charges and secure the most favorable outcome possible. This post will explore how DUI testing refusal enhancements work in California and the steps you can take to maximize your chances of obtaining a fair resolution.

Understanding California’s Implied Consent Law

First, it’s important to understand that drivers in California have already agreed to submit to chemical testing. Many people are surprised to hear about California’s implied consent law, which states, “A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed.” Essentially, by operating a vehicle on California roadways, drivers are agreeing to comply with any testing requests by law enforcement. Refusing to take a test makes a driver subject to a refusal enhancement penalty that increases the criminal consequences of a DUI conviction. This means that you have the right to refuse a test, but doing so may lead to additional penalties if you’re convicted of a DUI crime in Palmdale or Lancaster.

The Penalties for Chemical Test Refusal Enhancement

If the court finds you guilty of a DUI offense, you may face enhanced penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test at the time of your arrest. According to California’s Vehicle Code VC 23612, the refusal enhancement will add additional penalties to the sentence imposed for a DUI conviction. First-time DUI offenders can expect the refusal enhancement to add two additional days in jail to the underlying sentence, as well as a mandatory nine-month alcohol treatment program and a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. Second-time offenders can face an additional 96 days in jail and a license suspension of two years. For third-time offenders, the refusal enhancement will add ten days in jail and a three-year license revocation to the penalties of the underlying offense. However, it’s essential to recognize that the test refusal enhancement will only be valid when certain criteria are met. Your skilled and experienced Palmdale DUI defense attorney will assess the specifics of your case to identify the most strategic path forward to keep your future as bright as possible.

The Arresting Officer’s Obligations at the Scene

When a law enforcement officer pulls someone over and suspects that they are intoxicated, they must follow a set of protocols to ensure that the driver’s legal rights remain protected and upheld at all times. First, the officer must inform the driver that they may choose whether to submit to a breath or blood test and that the driver does not have the right to have an attorney present before stating whether they will submit to testing or during the administration of the tests. The officer must inform the driver that any refusal to take the test may be used as evidence against them in a court of law. Additionally, the officer must notify the driver that their failure to submit to testing will result in a fine and mandatory imprisonment if they are convicted of a DUI crime and that this refusal to take a test will lead to an automatic driver’s license suspension for at least one year. The failure of an officer to inform the defendant of any of these rights or information may invalidate the application of the enhanced penalty. With over 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin understands how to identify the most compelling and robust defense strategy to keep your future intact. 

Contact a Palmdale DUI Defense Lawyer Today

The scene of a DUI arrest can be chaotic and disorienting, especially if this is your first encounter with California law enforcement. As confusing as this experience may be, you do not have to go through the upcoming days, weeks, and months on your own. When you enlist the guidance of a dedicated and highly qualified Palmdale criminal defense lawyer, you can face the future with greater certainty and confidence. FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is ready to advocate on your behalf, working hard to secure you the most favorable outcome possible. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. 
Even first-time DUI convictions can carry significant and lasting penalties in California. If you are facing a DUI charge in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need immediate and effective legal representation to ensure your rights remain protected at every stage of the criminal justice process. With over 35 years of experience, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY and FORMER JUDGE PRO TEM David Wallin is ready to defend your freedom and your future. Reach out to the Law Offices of David M. Wallin today at (661) 267-1313 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced certified criminal law specialist. We offer payment plans, so call today.