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Breath or Blood Tests in a Bakersfield DUI Case

Submit? Refuse? Which Should You Choose?

If you should ever be arrested for a suspected DUI, your arresting officer will ask you to submit to either a breath or blood test for the purposes of determining your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). As opposed to an optional Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS), this type of assessment is mandatory and must be taken. This will be conducted either at the police station or at a mobile unit if the arrest was made at a DUI checkpoint.

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What are the Penalties for a Chemical Test Refusal?

If you refuse a breath or blood test after being arrested, you will have your license immediately suspended. This is because California has an “implied consent” law that states that by holding a driver’s license, you are in essence already submitting to any chemical test that an officer may request at the time of your lawful arrest.

If you refuse, the penalties will be as follows:

  • For a first offense, a one year license suspension
  • For a second offense, a two year license suspension
  • For a third offense, a three year license suspension

Since the state only needs to prove that you had enough alcohol in you to render you substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle rather than simply being over the legal limit, your specific blood alcohol concentration does not have as much weight. Therefore, it is almost always wise to submit to a chemical test if you have been arrested. Refusal will most often just serve to worsen your situation.

Which Test Should You Take?

If given the choice, it is almost always preferable to take a blood test over a breath test. It is much easier for a breath test to register a false high reading than a blood test. There is a bit of truth to “the harder you blow, the higher you go” saying, which is exactly why some officers will encourage you to blow as hard as you can into their machine. With a blood test, two vials of blood are taken: one for the state, and one for you. With the second vial, your defense can have your BAC retested at a third-party laboratory. It is common that for the two samples to yield different results.

Additionally, choosing a blood test will further complicate the prosecution’s case. Instead of solely requiring the presence of your arresting officer at your trial, the prosecution will also need the technician who tested your blood to be present.

Arrested? Call Campbell Whitten at (661) 771-3077.

If you are facing DUI charges, your chances of securing a desirable outcome are only as good as the defense team you have by your side. At Campbell Whitten, our trial-tested Bakersfield DUI lawyers treat every case as an opportunity to prove we are the best.

We have handled more than 10,000 cases throughout our successful practice, providing us with the skills and knowledge you need to help you get through this difficult time. We are younger, smarter, and are willing to work harder for our clients than any other firm.

Make sure your case is in good hands – contact us today!