Sonoma and Napa Counties are renowned for their excellent wineries. Winery tours, wine tastings and other alcohol-related events are popular among tourists and locals alike. But what happens if you are pulled over on the way home from one of these outings and asked to perform a breath test on suspicion of drunk driving?
You always have the option to refuse chemical testing at a DUI traffic stop in California. However, if you are arrested for DUI in California and you refused to submit to a chemical test such as a breath test, you can face administrative sanctions in addition to criminal sanctions. One of these sanctions is the loss of your driver’s license.
What is chemical test refusal?
California law recognizes the legal concept of “implied consent.” Basically, this means that all motorists on California’s roadways are legally required to submit to a breath test or blood test if pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Urine tests are only available under very specific circumstances.
Of course, you always have choices in such a situation, including the choice to refuse chemical testing. However, there are consequences for doing so.
What happens to my license if I am arrested for DUI?
If you do submit to a chemical test and the test shows your blood alcohol content was at or above the legal limit and it was your first offense, your license can be suspended for four months. If it is a second or subsequent offense within the past 10 years, your license can be suspended for 12 months.
If you do not submit to a chemical test and it is your first offense, your license can be suspended for 12 months. If it is your second offense within the past 10 years, your license can be suspended for 24 months. If it is your third or subsequent offense within the past 10 years, your license can be suspended for 36 months.
While refusing to submit to a chemical test can have its advantages, it is important to recognize that you will likely lose your license for a certain time period if you do so. You will carefully want to weigh the pros and cons of breath test refusal and it never hurts to consult a professional for further information on this topic.