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What Is California’s Implied Consent?


Interviewer: So, in some states, and my question is in California as well, when you get pulled over and accused of DUI, there’s something called an implied consent that you will give your blood breath or urine to be tested if suspected of DUI?

Aaron: In California, when you sign up to get a driver’s license, you’re signing a consent form. Basically by signing that form at the DMV you are granting an implied consent to take a chemical test if arrested for a DUI, which is either a breath or a blood test. The tests formally included breath, blood, or urine, but now it’s limited to breath or blood.

So once they say you’re under arrest or inform you that you have a choice of a test, you must take a breath or blood test and if you do not or if you refuse to do that, you will lose your license for one year or more, without any restrictions.

Does Implied Consent Only Apply to Recent Driver’s License Applications?

Interviewer: What about people who have had their license for a long time? Are they grandfathered in to not having to do this, or is it retroactively applied to everybody with a license there?

Implied Consent Applies to All Drivers’ License Holders in the State of California

Aaron: This applies to everybody. The scary part about this is we get people coming in to California from other states that allow people to refuse chemical tests. So, it used to be – and this has changed recently – but in Texas, you could refuse to take a chemical test without losing your license.

With the severe consequences of California’s laws, I’ve had clients come in from other states and refuse to take a test and say, wait a minute, I didn’t consent to this. I didn’t sign anything. But it doesn’t matter what state you’re from. Basically, when you get behind the wheel in California, the law says that you must abide by California’s laws and rules. And even though you haven’t signed anything, even though your license is from another state, by driving in California, you’re subject to its rules and that’s the implied consent law, unfortunately.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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