By driving a motor vehicle in the State of California, you’ve already consented to take a chemical test if you’re arrested for drunk driving. This test is commonly known as an alcohol breath test or breathalyzer. You can take a blood test instead. If you don’t take the test when you’re asked, you can lose your driver’s license for a long period of time even if you’re never convicted of drunk driving. According to Zooomr, your car lease at the time can be taken away in the event of a DUI. If you recently bought a used car, it can be taken from you as well.
When you’re arrested for drunk driving, the law enforcement officer should read you your chemical test rights. An arresting officer has a legal obligation to inform you of these rights. California Vehicle Code Section 23612 VC requires the law enforcement officer to tell you that if you refuse to take the chemical test, you can suffer penalties. These penalties can include mandatory jail time, a fine and a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license.
Typically, the license suspension for refusing a chemical test lasts one year. There’s no exception for people who are ultimately acquitted of drunk driving. For many people, this penalty is far worse than the penalties they face for drunk driving.
All Los Angeles DUI lawyers agree that it’s in your best interests to take a chemical test. If you don’t, you’re likely to suffer the penalties for refusal even if you’re able to prove that you weren’t actually drunk driving. However, in some cases, the law enforcement officer might not read you the chemical test rights. The officer has to give you this admonition so that you know how important it is to take the chemical test. If they don’t think it’s important or if they forget, that might be a valid grounds to challenge the suspension.
A conviction in the DUI court case doesn’t have any effect on the license suspension for refusing the chemical test. You can’t avoid the license suspension by pleading guilty to the drunk driving charge. Refusing the chemical test is seen as a serious enough offense that it’s treated completely separately from the drunk driving charge.
You have ten days from your arrest to demand a hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles for your administrative suspension. That’s not a lot of time for you to find an attorney and make the request. It’s important that you work with a Los Angeles DUI attorney quickly. If you get your request in on time, your suspension stays while you wait for your hearing date. You get a temporary license until your hearing date arrives.
At the hearing, you have a chance to tell the hearing officer why the allegations against you are unfair. This isn’t the time to defend the underlying drunk driving charge. Rather, it’s only about the chemical test refusal. Expect the law enforcement officer to talk about reading you the chemical test rights and whether you agreed to take the chemical test. You can have your DUI attorney with you at this hearing.
It’s important to request the hearing about your chemical test refusal, even if you don’t think you have a chance to win the hearing. Your attorney can review your case in light of their training and experience. The officer might have made mistakes that can jeopardize their case against you.
Some officers don’t give a driver the option of a blood test because they think it’s too much work. That can be fatal to their case against you. The officer also has to read the chemical test admonition carefully. You should work with your DUI attorney to review your case for law enforcement errors. Any mistake can help you win your case.