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What is DUI Consent?

DUI charges can be hefty, and they sometimes have the power to drastically affect your life, if you aren’t careful. In the United States, implied consent laws are in place to safeguard every person on the road, holding driver’s responsible for their actions. Implied consent laws state that, by applying for a driver’s license, the motorist agrees to driving safely, and will therefore give consent to either field sobriety tests or chemical tests in order to determine possible impairment. However, plenty of drivers pulled over for possible DUIs refuse to take tests, so where does that leave the consent law?

Arresting officers are required to inform drivers of the possible consequences of refusing a test, should they wish to do so. Refusing to take a test could result in loss of driver’s license, jail time, and fines. The officer is also required to inform the person that he or she has the right to speak to an attorney. However, despite these penalties, the decision to take or refuse a test always rests with the driver.

California law requires officers to inform motorists of the laws, providing enough information to grant each driver the choice to either take or refuse, according to the People v. Harris case. The implied consent law is explicitly designed to allow the driver, and not the police officer, to make the choice as to whether the driver will give or decline to give actual consent to a blood draw when put to the choice between consent or automatic sanctions.

Therefore, rather than determine whether implied consent to a chemical test satisfies the Fourth Amendment, the question is whether submission to a chemical test, after advisement under the implied consent law, is freely and voluntarily given and constitutes actual consent. Each driver should be presented with the field sobriety or chemical tests as an option, rather than an obligation, according to state laws.

If you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI, and you were not granted the rights stated above, you may have a case. Contact the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse today to speak with our legal team.