If you are arrested for DUI, you will be asked to give either a breath sample, urine sample or blood sample. Of these three, blood tests are the most accurate. They’re used for both alcohol DUIs and drug DUIs. The results of these tests are usually the keystone of the prosecution’s case against you—which is why taking the blood test is not optional. If you’re asked to provide a blood sample and you don’t do it, you will be charged with “refusal” in addition to DUI. This carries additional penalties.
Why can’t I refuse the blood test?
Under the law, driving is a privilege, not a fundamental right. Driving is also an activity that can cause serious harm or even kill people if done irresponsibly. For these reasons, the state of California puts conditions on your ability to drive. One of these conditions is that you will agree to a chemical test if you’re ever arrested for DUI. Basically, you “consented” to take the blood test the day you applied for your driver’s license.
The rules around this are strict. After placing you under arrest for DUI, officers only have to ask you to provide a sample once. If you do not comply immediately, you will be charged with refusal. Refusal is a DUI sentence enhancement, which means that the penalties for DUI will be worse than normal if you’re convicted.
Penalties for refusing a DUI blood test include:
- 2, 4 or 10 extra days in jail
- A longer license suspension period—anywhere from a full year to 3 years depending on your previous DUI record
- For a first time DUI, you will have to attend 9 months of DUI classes instead of the normal 3 months
If police say I refused the blood test, how do I challenge that?
Police are used to dealing with people who aren’t cooperative, and they are not always patient with people who are trying to comply but are having trouble. As a result, it’s possible to be charged with refusal even though you never meant to refuse. This leave room for a good DUI lawyer to challenge the refusal.
Circumstances where you could challenge a refusal charge include:
- Police did not explain to you that refusal is illegal or the penalties it carries
- You have a medical condition, such as hemophilia, that would make it dangerous for you to give a blood sample, and you told police this
- You attempted to request a different type of test, like a breath test, and police interpreted this as refusing
- You were injured or unconscious (as long as you were not unconscious from drugs or alcohol)
Your DUI lawyer can use both medical records and arrest records to prove your case, which could result in having the refusal charge dropped from your case.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.