California Implied Consent

If you’ve recently been pulled over for DUI, you may have been asked to submit to a breath test (commonly called a breathalyzer) in order to determine your level of intoxication. This is where implied consent comes into play.

Implied consent. Although you probably don’t realize it, this California law affects all drivers and is very important to know. When you first received your driver’s license, you were required to sign several forms. One of these documents notified you that, should you ever be pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you were legally obligated to take a breath test. Perhaps you don’t remember signing it? Unfortunately, most people don’t.

However, regardless of whether or not you are aware of the California implied consent laws, you will still be charged. First, because you were suspected of driving under the influence, you face criminal charges for breaking the law. In addition, because you refused to take a breath test, you may also face a criminal suit for breaking the terms of your agreement with the DMV.

So what does all of this mean to you? Well, in most cases, it means that you will face two charges for the same crime. If you’re found guilty for the criminal charge, you may be required to serve time in jail and/or pay a large fine. If, on the other hand, you are found guilty in civil court, you may lose your driver’s license. And, if you’re found guilty of both the criminal and civil charges, you’ll face jail time, a driver’s license suspension and a large fee.

Unfortunately, because both charges are tried in different courts, the double jeopardy law does not apply and you can therefore be convicted twice for the same crime.