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Breathalyzer Test During a California DUI Stop - Can I Refuse?

Breathalyzer Test During a California DUI Stop – Can I Refuse?


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Refusal of submitting to a breathalyzer test is possible even in California, but this may require a blood test through implied consent laws in this state which are immediately punishable if refused. Some may caution the driver about taking a portable breath test before using a more reliable blood test to prove the lack of alcohol influence on the driver.

Administrative Action
When a state such as California has implied consent laws that require the driver to take some form of test to determine the blood alcohol levels, administrative action is usually likely when the driver refuses to take these tests. The Department of Motor Vehicles in the local county will normally incur penalties for the refusal. Additionally, the DMV will schedule a hearing that is separate from the criminal process and may increase punishments for the refusal because the state has implied consent laws that necessitate the taking of a breath or blood test. Legal assistance after refusal may need to work harder with administrative action to reverse or prevent penalties.

Immediate Penalties
The ability to refuse a breath test remains even with implied consent laws. However, the driver should take a blood test if refusing to take the breath equivalent. The blood test is more accurate and will usually show that the person is not under the influence of alcohol when driving when the BAC results are under the national limit of 0.08 percent. The breath tests are not as accurate in usual circumstances, and there is a variety of factors that could decrease precise results when taking the test to include medical conditions and mouth alcohol.

The Possible Inaccuracies
Breath tests usually have a larger error margin because of other items in the mouth or system that could skew results. These issues may exist in mouthwash or toothpaste with alcohol and other products the breathalyzer can pick up. Some items such as energy drinks also run the risk of showing a higher BAC percentage with the breath test. However, if there is any worry about the results, the individual should opt to take the breathalyzer because of possible defense against the evidence in a trial case. The lawyer could attempt to refute a breath test over a blood test.

The Drink and Driving Incident
Any single drink can raise the BAC levels by 0.02 or more percent each hour in the system for males. Metabolism of women usually raises the amount to a higher degree. There are certain personal tests that could help the driver determine his or her BAC before getting behind the wheel. The breath test will only test for alcohol, but if the person takes drugs, the blood test will expose this activity. If the person that operates the vehicle is exhibiting dangerous or influencing behavior from alcohol, cops will likely stop him or her anyway.

Timing of Drinking

The primary issue with a breath test is how long ago the driver had anything to drink or any liquids or foot that could contain alcohol. The residual alcohol in the blood does not always show up in a breath test. However, the lungs or mouth may still contain more actual liquor content than a blood test would show. If the driver has no issues with a blood test and wants to prove that he or she is innocent of the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel, then refusal of a breath test is usually the best way to cooperate and prove the BAC level is lower than the limit.

The rise in alcohol content affecting the blood takes hours. Two hours after consuming a drink with liquor, he or she will experience a fall by a certain amount. However, over the course of a night, this could take most of the rest of the time the person is awake for the BAC to drop significantly. If the person is driving while the fall occurs, this is better for both blood and breath tests when no other issues interfere. However, if the BAC is rising, the test may show more than is actually affecting the driver. It is important to consider the possibility that alcohol could influence the person until hours after the last drink.

Legal Help with a Breathalyzer in California
Whether the driver faces a DUI stop or police pulling him or her over, he or she may need to determine the best test to take considering how much alcohol is in the system and then hire a lawyer if charged.

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