Understanding implied consent in California


Everyone in California who wants a drivers license issued by the state must first file an application for authorization. The state DMV then reviews the application for eligibility and makes a decision on testing. However, the application is more than a mere request for legal driving authorization. It is also an implied consent form that can be used when a driver is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It applies both in cases of blood alcohol concentration testing and any blood test that is ordered by a judge, and refusing testing carries certain administrative penalties.

Legal reasoning behind the law

There is a reason California legislators have established the implied consent law. Any test results are used as documented evidence to justify a charge for DUI. Other than test results, the only evidence the state has in most cases is officer testimony. Law enforcement officers can be cross-examined in a trial and often recant some of their testimony in DUI trials.

Arrest protocol and refusal to test

What is questionable regarding refusal to test following an arrest for DUI is how the request for testing initially happened and the reliability of testing results. Contesting probable cause can be effective as a DUI case argument if the officer did not have sufficient reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop.

Refusing to consent to a Breathalyzer or blood test is essentially a personal decision. There will be automatic administrative driving privilege suspensions in California. The advantage is that the state is limited with evidence to achieve a conviction for DUI. However, the primary disadvantage is the administrative penalty that is assigned automatically due to the implied consent stipulation when applying for a drivers license.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Share To: