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What Happens if I Refuse to Take a DUI Chemical Test?

Posted by Robert Berglund | Apr 13, 2023

If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and refuse to take a chemical test, such as a breath or blood test, your driver's license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a period of time.  This is known as the "implied consent" law, which means that by driving a vehicle in California, you have given your consent to submit to a chemical test if you are lawfully arrested for DUI.  If you refuse to take the test, the DMV may suspend your license for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and three years for the third offense.  A refusal license suspension is particularly harsh because unlike a suspension based on driving with a blood alcohol content greater that .08 percent, a suspension based on a refusal does not allow the driver to obtain a restricted driver's license.  It is a "hard" suspension period, meaning the person cannot legally drive for any purpose.  

Additionally, if you refuse to take the chemical test, it can be used against you by the prosecution in the criminal case.  It may be argued that your refusal is an admission of guilt, and that you refused the test because you knew you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Prosecutors also may seek additional penalties if your are convicted, including jail time, Cal Trans, and a longer alcohol program.

If you were arrested for DUI and you then refused to submit to the required breath or blood test, the officers likely confiscated your license and sent it to the DMV.  You must request a DMV administrative hearing within 10 days of this date or your license will automatically be suspended 30 days from the arrest date.  If this happens, you will never get a chance to fight the case with DMV.  Call our office today at (877) 667-1205 or submit our CONTACT form to speak with our Los Angeles DUI attorney for a free and confidential consultation.  

About the Author

Robert Berglund

Attorney Robert D. Berglund is dedicated to handling any and all traffic violations, including traffic infraction tickets, as well as misdemeanor criminal traffic violations, such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving.


Our office specializes in representing individuals facing traffic violations. We represent our clients in both court and at DMV hearings. Your case will be handled with the personalized attention and expertise that it deserves.

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There is no charge for the phone consultation. Our office specializes in representing individuals facing traffic violations. Attorney Robert D. Berglund will personally speak with you about your case and provide you with an honest analysis. Contact us today.