Let’s imagine that you are taken into custody for suspicion of DUI and transported to a local hospital. The police ask you to take a blood test and inform you that in California, refusal to submit to a chemical blood or breath test means the automatic loss of your driver’s license for at least a year. You refuse. Can the officer order a lab technician to draw your blood without your permission? Can the police physically hold you down to take a blood sample? If you’re charged with DUI in southern California on the basis of a chemical test, or if you were charged with DUI when you refused to submit to a test, take your case immediately to an experienced Orange County DUI attorney, and get the legal help you are very much going to need.
According to the United States Supreme Court, the police cannot legally hold you down and forcefully take a blood sample without a search warrant unless there are specific “exigencies” that make obtaining a warrant impractical. Otherwise, taking the blood of someone without a warrant may constitute a violation of that person’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The mere fact that blood alcohol dissipates quickly does not, in and of itself, constitute an “exigent” circumstance.
Under California’s implied consent law, you are required to submit to a DUI breath test or blood test if you are lawfully arrested in this state for driving under the influence, but you can only be forced to submit to a test in the rarest of circumstances. However, your refusal can mean several days of additional jail time, an automatic one-year license suspension for a first offense, and an automatic two-year suspension for a second offense. The best advice is to insist politely but firmly on a blood test, not a breath test, after you’ve been arrested but not before. If you’re charged with DUI in southern California, don’t try to act as your own attorney, and do not plead guilty. Instead, put your case immediately in the trustworthy hands of an experienced Orange County DUI attorney.