Most people think of taking a breathalyzer test when they think of getting a DUI. Common questions after being charged with a DUI include, “what did you blow?” and “what was your BAC?.” But what many people don't realize is you can be convicted of a DUI even if you never took a chemical test to ascertain your BAC level. California DUI laws prohibit driving with a BAC of .08% or higher as well as driving while under the influence of alcohol. These are two separate offenses and can result in two separate charges, but you will only be punished for one.
Absent a chemical test result, the prosecution must simply prove you were under the influence of alcohol while you were driving. This is certainly more complicated to prove if there is no chemical test result to be used in your case. Demonstrating you were driving recklessly or unsafely and the officer had reason to believe you had been drinking can prove this. Otherwise, the case will primarily hinge on the officer's statements and observations in the report. Witness testimony, crash reports, or medical records may also be sufficient to prove you were driving while under the influence as well.
It is important to note that in most cases, BAC chemical test results will be available. Most DUI arrests involve either a breathalyzer or a blood test. These test results make the prosecution's job easier and there are even penalties for refusing to comply with the test. In fact, you are required to take a chemical test under California law. Under the implied consent law, you have implicitly given your consent to submit to a chemical test in the event you are arrested for a DUI. Those who do not comply with this requirement will face an automatic one-year license suspension, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. A second refusal within a ten year period will result in a two-year revocation, and a third offense within ten years will result in a three-year revocation of your driving privileges. As you can see, refusing to submit to a BAC chemical test has serious consequences.
Not only will you face additional penalties just for refusing or failing to complete the test, your refusal can be seen as an indicator of guilt in your case as well. That being said, it is usually best to comply with the chemical test. You can still be convicted if you refuse. In most cases, refusing to take a BAC chemical test won't rule in your favor. You may be forced to undergo a blood draw later on if a warrant is obtained, and, even if this happens, you will still face punishment for refusing to complete the test.
Consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney if you have questions about DUI charges. If you are facing DUI charges and refused to submit to a chemical test and you were never forced to submit to one, you can still be convicted of a DUI. But not all DUI cases are the same. Some so-called DUI defense attorneys have little experience handling complex DUI cases or taking them to trial. All too often offenders are convinced they have no chance and plead guilty without a fight. With the right DUI defense attorney, these offenders could raise a successful defense in their case and walk away without a conviction. Raising a successful defense to a DUI charge, no matter what evidence is against you, will take a knowledgeable California DUI defense attorney who is skilled enough to take your case to trial if need be. It is important to understand the elements in your case if you want to try to fight your charges. An attorney may be able to help you do this if you involve him or her early on enough in your case.
Are you facing DUI charges? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Experienced in DUI defense, Mr. Martens can help you strategize a defense for your case. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.