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Potential Enhanced Penalties for Refusing to Take A Chemical Test After Being Arrested on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Many people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs wonder whether it is in their best interest to refuse to take a chemical test.

In California, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, pursuant to California Vehicle Code §23152(a)(b). If a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, California Vehicle Code §23578(b) requires drivers to submit to a breath or blood test to determine their alcohol/drug content. These tests occur either at the police station or a hospital.

In applying for a California driver’s license it is a prerequisite that drivers agree to submit to a chemical test if an officer suspects them of driving under the influence. Refusing to complete such a test may cause a prosecutor to add an enhanced and separate charge to a DUI, of refusing to complete a chemical test.

Examples of the additional penalties that may be required are: jail time, longer probation, longer alcohol programs, the installation of an ignition inter lock device (IID) and possible higher fines.

Not submitting to the chemical test may potentially also have consequences at the DMV, which could result in a license suspension that is substantially longer than a driver who completed a chemical test.

An officer who is dealing with a driver who he suspects is under the influence of alcohol or drugs is required by law to admonish or warn the driver that refusing to take or complete a chemical test may result in jail time and a possible license suspension. This warning must be read to drivers verbatim to give them an opportunity to reconsider their decision to not submit to a chemical test. If an officer fails to properly give this refusal advisement to the driver there would be a good argument by an experienced DUI defense lawyer that the driver is not guilty of refusing and therefore is able to avoid the extra penalties that may be otherwise imposed. This defect may also be beneficial at preventing a license suspension at the DMV.

Another defense to a refusal allegation is that the driver for medical reasons was unable to complete the chemical test. For example, if the driver has asthma and is not able to supply sufficient breathe to analyze in the breathalyzer then they are required by law to submit to the remaining tests.

The attorneys at Hoffman & Associates, have over 30 years of experience in the courtroom defending DUI cases, all of which have their own distinctive facts and circumstances. A skilled courtroom lawyer will be able to identify potential errors that are present either on the surface of the police report or other technical errors that are not apparent to a less experienced attorney. Identifying these potential errors is critical and essential to getting a DUI charge dismissed or reduced.

California Vehicle Code §23578(b) states: In addition to any other provision of this code, if a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, the court shall consider a concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood of 0.15 percent or more, by weight, or the refusal of the person to take a chemical test, as a special factor that may justify enhancing the penalties in sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation, and if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation.

Effective Negotiation Through Plea Bargaining by an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney

A skillful and knowledgeable DUI lawyer with years of courtroom experience can use different types of weaknesses to effectively plea bargain, reduce potential charges and penalties, as well as get complete dismissals of all charges. An experienced Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County DUI Attorney has had the time to create strong relationships with judges and prosecutors, which gives them the tools to change the perception of the client to a more positive image than what is read about in the police report.

By presenting resumes, letters of recommendation, and any other positive information about the client Hoffman & Associates begins to immediately mend the negative images that are displayed in the police report.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you did not submit to the chemical test, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles, San Diego, or Orange County DUI Defense firm like, Hoffman & Associates, to protect all of your legal rights and decrease the potential consequences that this legal problem can create.