Law enforcement agencies in California tend to take a hard-line stance against drunk driving. In fact, according to the Department of Motor Vehicle’s 2019 report to the state legislature, there were nearly 125,000 DUI arrests in 2017 alone.
Officers only need reasonable suspicion to stop you for driving under the influence of alcohol. To arrest you, however, they must have probable cause, which is a higher legal threshold. If a breath test reveals your blood alcohol concentration is above the state’s 0.08% limit, officers likely have probable cause to arrest you.
DUI breath tests
Even though many of them work just fine, some DUI breath tests have a reputation for being finicky. Therefore, it is not uncommon for officers to use a breath test during a roadside stop and more accurate testing, such as blood or urine testing, at the police station or precinct.
Your implied consent
Like other states, California has an implied consent DUI law. Pursuant to this law, you have already agreed to give officers a sample of your blood, breath or urine for BAC chemical testing simply by driving in the state. You still have a right to refuse the test, though.
Even though you have a right to refuse to provide officers with a breath, urine or blood sample, there are severe consequences for not complying. These include both losing your driver’s license and facing potentially harsher DUI penalties.
Intentionally violating California’s implied consent DUI law is not something you should do without knowing the potential risks. On the other hand, if you have already refused to comply with the law during a DUI stop, you should explore your legal options as soon as possible.