Refusing DUI/DWI Tests (Implied Consent Laws)

The Uniform Vehicle Code states that:
” Any person placed under arrest for operating an automobile or motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol is presumed to have given consent to a chemical test of their urine, breath or blood, for the purpose of checking the alcohol content in the blood.”

Most states have adopted this implied consent provision of the Uniform Vehicle Code as part of their DUI law and enacted implied consent laws. Any driver with a license was “deemed” to have allowed the police to run a “chemical test of his breath, blood, urine or saliva” to see how much alcohol he had in his system. Of course, this “consent” was pretty much coerced. If a driver decided to be unreasonable and withhold consent, or refused to allow the tests to be given when stopped on the road, the state could use this stubbornness as an excuse to revoke his license.

Refusing the breath analyzer test can result in an automatic suspension of driving privileges in most states. The period of suspension can vary depending on state law. Besides suspension of driving privileges, you may also have to pay a fine. In some states like Ohio, if you have a prior DUI conviction and you refuse a breath analyzer test, you will have to spend time in jail.

When you refuse a breath analyzer test, the officer can ask you to taken a chemical test, i.e. a blood test or an urine test depending on your state law. You cannot refuse to take the chemical test. The police can use reasonable force to administer the test. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances.

California Penalty

  • If a suspected DUI offender refuses to take the chemical BAC test, it could result in a citation.
  • If a suspected DUI offender refuses to take the breathalyzer test but agrees to a blood draw test, this can result in being exempted from a refusal charge.

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