no refusal bac test
Police issue a blood test upon arrest for DUI

Police are beginning to make adjustments to DUI enforcement policies in order to circumvent recent changes in the law. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must obtain a warrant before administering a blood test from drivers suspected of DUI.1This may have since given some drivers an advantage in avoiding DUI charges; however, police are now implementing so called “no refusal” policies to counter these law changes.

Background on the Law

Implied consent laws require drivers to submit to a chemical test when arrested upon suspicion of DUI when driving a vehicle in California. Refusal to submit to a chemical test results in an automatic one-year suspension; however, some view this as a strategic advantage when fighting DUI charges in court.

When being investigated for DUI, drivers have the choice of taking either a blood or breath test. The recent Supreme Court decision has led some suspects to choose a blood test over a breath test in order to buy time while the police obtain a warrant. Traditionally, police had to obtain a paper warrant from a judge, which often took several hours. The longer it took to obtain the warrant, the more the suspect’s level of intoxication would drop.

Police Implement “No Refusal” Enforcement Policies

Police have countered by using technology to circumvent the harsh impact of the warrant requirement. Police have accomplished this by implementing systems allowing officers to request a warrant from a judge and obtain one electronically within minutes.

A warrant gives officers the legal authority to collect blood from drivers whether or not they refuse. This is especially significant in cases where the driver is unconscious, lacking the ability to refuse or consent. Moreover, blood tests allow police to test for a wide array of other drugs, like marijuana and cocaine.

Possible Impact of “No Refusal” Policy on Your California DUI Case

If you refuse a blood test on suspicion of DUI and the officer obtains a warrant, the court is empowered to impose harsher penalties in addition to consequences resulting from a DUI conviction.2

Moreover, California law does not require evidence of a BAC of .08% or higher. You can still be convicted with a BAC lower than .08% if police observe objective signs that you are under the influence. Therefore, refusing a chemical test may not help you avoid conviction.

Although it may seem that the odds are against you, a skilled attorney will be able to assess all of the elements of your case and build a strong defense strategy to help you get the best results possible in your case.

Call the DUI Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, you need to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately.

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled DUI attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing both state and federal DUI charges for over 30 years. Our skilled team of attorneys will review all the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. Missouri v. McNeely (2013) 133 S.Ct. 832

2. California Vehicle Code Section 23578

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