In California, and in other states throughout the country, the “implied consent” law requires all state drivers are arrested for a DUI to take a breath or blood test to determine BAC or the amount of drugs in the person’s system.
Consequences for refusing to submit a chemical test after an arrest are harsh. The penalties for refusal—also known as “refusal enhancement penalties”—will be added on top of standard DUI penalties.
Refusal enhancement may include the following:
- First-time DUI offense – Driver’s license suspension for one year and a fine of $125
- Second-time DUI offense – Driver’s license suspension for two years and a fine of $125
- Third-time DUI offense – Driver’s license suspension for three years and a fine of $125
It is imperative to understand that implied consent laws only apply to chemical testing after the DUI arrest. This means that an individual can refuse to take a “preliminary alcohol screening” (PAS) test or a handled breath test device (typically called a “breathalyzer”). An officer might ask you to take voluntary PAS test to determine probable cause to make an arrest. However, only drivers who are under 21 years of age or currently on DUI probation are required to take a pre-arrest PAS test.
Although refusal would mean a lack of recorded evidence of your BAC level, it can still be used against you in court. Even without the BAC test results, you can still be found guilty. The prosecutor could argue to a jury that the reason you didn't take a chemical test is because you were aware your impairment.