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Do you know what you agreed to when you got a driver's license?

Whenever you apply for a driver's license California, you agree to certain stipulations whether you realize it or not. Many states have implied consent laws, although the stipulations that apply may vary by location. It's a good idea to make sure you clearly understand what obtaining a valid driver's license automatically means you agree to, especially in cases where a police officer pulls you over or accuses you of drunk driving.

Concerning all traffic regulations and state laws, it's best to seek clarification ahead of time and make sure you're aware of your rights. This type of knowledge is often key to avoiding serious legal problems, in particular when prosecutors file DUI charges against you. First, it's crucial to know that facing criminal charges doesn't necessarily always lead to a conviction. Even if you already have a DUI conviction on your record, each situation is isolated in that you are presumed innocent unless prosecutors convince the court otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.

How implied consent laws may affect your situation

Let's say you're driving down a California road and you see those unmistakable red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. In a matter of minutes, your life can take a drastic turn, especially if you pull over and the officer approaching your vehicle asks you to step out. The following information explains implied consent, along with how it can affect your circumstances if you face DUI charges:

  • Remember that if a police officer asks you to get out of your car, he or she is detaining you and you are no longer free to leave the scene without permission.
  • Implied consent laws in California obligate you to submit to chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content level if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
  • The key phrase there is "reasonable suspicion." This is why it's so important to know your rights ahead of time, so you can take immediate action to seek support if you believe a police officer violates your rights.
  • The officer is required to inform you of certain things during a DUI stop in this state, including the fact that if you refuse to take a chemical test, you will incur automatic penalties. If you later consent to a blood draw, those penalties may not apply.
  • These automatic penalties occur because you implicitly consented to them when you obtained a California driver's license.
  • Among other penalties for chemical test refusal, you will do jail time if the court convicts you of DUI. 

Certain medical conditions may exempt you from taking a blood test, such as hemophilia. There are issues that can skew the results of a breath test, such as alcohol on your breath due to medicine you previously ingested or high ketone levels due to diabetes. You do not have to submit to a pre-arrest breath test request but must remember that there may be repercussions for your refusal. If you are not fully aware of your rights, it's always best to request immediate legal assistance.

An experienced California defense attorney can help a person facing DUI suspicion from the moment a police officer makes the traffic stop until the court completes the entire adjudication process.

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