A number of states, including California, have what are known as implied consent laws. These laws basically say that a citizen impliedly consents to a chemical test when stopped/arrested for a DUI in return for the privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
Most of the time, an individual is given a choice of blood or breath. Urine used to be one of the choices as well. If a person gives breath, he/she is usually able to take a blood test too if he/she wishes to have a sample to retest later.
Problems can arise when a person refuses to take and/or complete a test. I usually see two things happen in these situations: 1) an officer just marks down that the individual refused the test, or 2) a person is marked down as a refusal and his/her blood is forced.
The second option referenced above has now changed. Courts have said, if an individual refuses to take or complete a test, a search warrant must first be obtained. This is called a McNeely warrant and police officers are beginning to use them in Orange County.
Refusing to submit to a chemical test can be a dangerous tactic in DUI cases. If no chemical test is taken, the people will be deprived of a very important piece of evidence. However, the jury is given an instruction that allows them to consider a refusal as evidence of guilt. If you refuse a test but blood is then forced, it is the worst of both worlds. That is, the people will use the test against you in court and the DMV will use the refusal against you in order to extend your license suspension.
There may be situations where a chemical test refusal can help a defendant. However, an individual pulled over for DUI would probably not be the best person to know this. It is for this reason that I urge my clients to cooperate on this issue.
Contact The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI. Put his 30 years of experience and knowledge to work for you.