If you are pulled over by a police officer in California and they suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while you are driving a motor vehicle, then it is very likely that they will ask you to submit to a battery of tests in order to determine whether or not that is actually the case. One of these tests is a breath test that measures the amount of alcohol in your breath which is able to give the officer an idea of your possible blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is legally not allowed to be in excess of .08 while you are an adult, and in excess of .01 as a minor under the age of 21.
You may find yourself wondering what your rights are during this traffic stop and the officer is asking you to submit to field sobriety tests, breath tests, or answering questions about where you are coming from, where you are going, if you have been drinking, and more. We will go over the specific options that you have, as well as the associated penalties that you will face, specifically if you decide to refuse a breath or blood test.
Read more below to learn about your rights and options when it comes to submitting to or refusing a breath test during a traffic stop. There are a variety of things that you will need to do and steps to take that are time-sensitive that will have a long-term impact on your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation to speak with an experienced California DUI attorney to talk about your situation specifically, and we will be able to identify the next steps necessary to work towards a positive outcome.
What Is a Breath Test?
Legal limits about how much alcohol an adult is legally allowed to consume before operating a motor vehicle are determined by something called Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC. The limit is .08, and driving when your BAC is actually at .08 or excess of this limit is a crime.
During a traffic stop, police officers have a variety of options that they can utilize in order to determine whether or not an individual is intoxicated, one of which is known as a breath test (or Breathalyzer). This test consists of the suspect blowing into a hand-held device that measures the alcohol content in their breath, which then provides an analog to the amount of alcohol in their blood. These tests are routinely found to be flawed, which is something that we will focus on aggressively as your defense attorneys. In addition to a breathalyzer, an officer may request that you take a variety of field sobriety tests, and ultimately take a blood test in order to get the exact blood alcohol content.
Refusing a Breath Test
There are a few things that you need to understand about your rights when it comes to taking a breath test during a traffic stop. It is not a crime to refuse a roadside breath test, but if you are arrested and then told to choose between taking a breath or blood test at the police station, there will be consequences if you refuse those post-arrest chemical tests. When you receive your California driver’s license, you automatically agree to submit to one of these post-arrest chemical tests if an officer asks that you take one. This is known as “implied consent.” By refusing the test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of one year for violating this agreement, and you will additionally be required to attend a series of alcohol and DUI education programs.
If you refuse the roadside hand-held breathalyzer test, you are not breaking any additional laws, but it is likely that you will be arrested on suspicion of DUI. In addition, if you refuse the post-arrest chemical tests (blood or breath), the officer will be able to get a warrant for a blood test, which you will not be able to refuse. Essentially, refusing a blood test or breath test post-arrest is not recommended since it will cause a variety of additional issues and will still end in you remaining arrested. We will be able to work in court to have the breath or blood test results suppressed since they can be very inaccurate.
Contact Us Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, whether or not you have refused a breath test, contact our team as soon as possible. We will be able to discuss your specific situation in greater detail during our call that will go beyond the information provided in this article.