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Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

The law regarding search for DUI tests is a little less straightforward than say finding evidence in your home. Police frequently don’t have the time or ability to get a warrant to search you for evidence of DUI (as would be required by the Fourth Amendment), so exceptions need to be made. For this reason, California has created and implemented an “implied consent” law, which means is that when you are arrested for DUI, you are required to submit to a blood-alcohol test via breath, blood, or urine.

California’s law goes a step further by implying that you to submit to a preliminary test, otherwise known as “field sobriety test.” These tests are not official, nor can they be submitted as evidence in court to attest to your intoxication levels, but they do allow police to establish “probable cause” for belief that you are intoxicated. This is important because police are required to have “probable cause” in order to arrest you and obtain an official blood-alcohol test.

A field-sobriety test does not mean you have been arrested, but the police are allowed to use these test to gain probable cause to arrest you. This means that even though police may request that you take this test, you are not bound by law to submit to it. Therefore, there are no additional legal penalties for refusing to take a field sobriety test, even though the law implies that you submit to them. However, it’s not advised that you refuse because police can find other ways to determine probable cause and may still arrest you. Once you are arrested, you are required to submit to a blood-alcohol test, and your refusal to submit to the field sobriety test could come back to bite you.

Failure to Submit

While there are no penalties for failing to submit to a field sobriety test, there are consequences for refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test once you are arrested, the most serious of which is an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for one year (for a first offense). Even if the evidence is not enough to convict you, or you are cleared of all charges in your DUI hearing, your license suspension will still be enforced.

You are not allowed to consult with an attorney before taking this test either, and the police should inform you of that. Instead, submit and take the blood-alcohol test and then contact an attorney to discuss your case further.

If you have been arrested for DUI, time is not on your side as you have only 10 days to request a hearing regarding your case. You should not hesitate to contact a Bakersfield DUI attorney from Campbell Whitten as soon as possible. We orchestrate an individually-tailored, hard hitting criminal defense to each case, using a team approach to obtain the best possible results. When it comes to protecting your rights, we focus our time, attention, knowledge, and effort to getting you the successful outcome you desire.

Speak with an attorney about your case today! Call Campbell Whitten at 661.735.1038 and schedule your initial consultation.
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