Legally, drivers in California must take a chemical test to determine if they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after a DUI arrest. Individuals who refuse this test may face charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23612: Refusal Enhancement.
Charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe enough on their own. Refusal enhancement charges can make DUI penalties even harsher. Learn more about how a refusal enhancement works with the Simmrin Law Group.
Go Over the Definition of VC 23162
Individuals can be charged with a refusal enhancement if they refuse to submit to chemical testing after being legally arrest for a DUI. This charge may also apply to individuals who refuse before they are arrested if they are:
- Under 21
- On Probation
Some drivers refuse chemical testing in the hopes that it will get them out of a DUI charge. In fact, drivers can still be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a). VC 23152(a) allows drivers to face DUI charges even without a test that shows they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In order to refuse a chemical test, an individual must:
- Be Asked to Take a Chemical Test by a Police Officer
- Be Advised of the Consequences for Refusing to Take the Test
- Purposefully Refuse to Perform the Test
The driver must also be arrested due to the reasonable belief that he or she was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Legal Burden on Police Officers for VC 23162 Charges
Legally, a driver can only face charges under VC 23162 if they are fully advised about the consequences for refusing a chemical test. The state of California considers individuals to be fully advised only if they are told:
- That They May Select a Blood or Breath Test
- That Blood Tests May be Required for Drug Consumption
- That Refusal to Submit to a Test Can be Held Against Them in Court
- That Refusal to Submit to a Test Can Lead to Imprisonment and Fines
- That Refusal to Submit to a Test Can Lead to a License Suspension and the Loss of Driving Privileges
Note that drivers must also be told that they do not have the right to secure the presence of a lawyer:
- Before Agreeing or Disagreeing to Take the Test
- Before Deciding to Take a Blood or Breath Test
- While the Test is Being Administered
Police officers have to make sure a driver can hear what they are saying. Note, however, that a police officer is not responsible for ensuring a driver understands what is happening if the driver is severely intoxicated.
Penalties for a VC 23162 Conviction
Refusal enhancements are unique in many ways. For one thing, a driver will only face a refusal enhancement if they are convicted of a DUI. Refusal enhancements also grow more severe depending on how many times a driver has faced DUI charges. Penalties can include:
1st DUI Conviction:
- Jail Time: Adds 2 Days
- Drivers’ License Suspension: 1 Year
2nd DUI Conviction:
- Jail Time: Adds 96 Hours
- Drivers’ License Revocation: 2 Years
3rd DUI Conviction:
- Jail Time: Adds 10 Days
- Drivers’ License Revocation: 3 Years
A refusal enhancement adds penalties to the repercussion a driver will already be facing if convicted under:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI With Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving With A Blood Alcohol Content Of 0.08 Percent Or Higher
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e): Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs
Defending Against a VC 23612 Charge
There are some legal defenses that can be used to handle VC 23612 charges. Sometimes a refusal enhancement may not apply if a driver could not understand what the police officer was saying. Examples of factors that could prevent a driver from understanding the orders associated with a chemical test could include:
- Loud External Noises
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to assess your situation and build your case if you are facing charges under VC 23612.
Building a Legal Defense for VC 23612 Accusations
Drivers do not have to try to handle charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23612: Refusal Enhancement without help. You can get professional help by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. Our criminal defense lawyers can help you go over your options after a DUI arrest with a FREE initial case evaluation.
Get the help you need by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.