Skip to Content
Serving Los Angeles County and the Greater Southern California Area
Se Habla Español
(310) 361-3068

California DUIs: Should you refuse your breath test?


As someone who enjoys driving and being on the road, you probably know that there are certain actions that could threaten your license and privilege to drive. Drinking and driving, in particular, can endanger your license — and cause many other problems.

Like other states, California has implied consent laws: By accepting your license to drive in the first place, you’ve already agreed to provide a sample for a chemical test if an officer asks you do to do for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content.

Should you refuse a Breathalyzer test anyhow?

If you know that your BAC is high, you may be tempted to refuse the Breathalyzer test anyhow. Here’s why this is probably not a good idea:

  • You’ll face an automatic loss of your license — even if you’re not legally intoxicated. The first time you refuse, the penalty is a full-year suspension.
  • You’re handing the police evidence to use against you. In California, the refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer exam can be presented in court as evidence of your “guilty knowledge.” That means a jury is free to assume you refused the test because you knew you wouldn’t pass it.
  • Finally, an officer may simply get a warrant for a blood draw or urine sample if you don’t agree to a Breathalyzer test at the scene.

In all these cases, refusal to comply can harm you more than it could help.

What should you do if you’re stopped by the police?

If you are stopped by the police and are asked to take a Breathalyzer test, you should do so under most circumstances. Failing to do so may cost you your license. If your BAC comes back high, you may want to speak with your attorney about defending yourself, so you can fight against the fines and potential jail time you could face. Every drunk driving charge is serious, so protect your future.

Share To: