Monday, May 1, 2017

How Does The California DMV Define a Refusal

A refusal to take a test following a DUI arrest carries the harshest penalty under law.  The state can revoke your driving privileges for up to 3 years.  How does California define a refusal in legal terms?

Before the DMV may suspend a driver's license for failure to submit to a chemical test, the DMV must make four findings: (1) the officer had reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; (2) the person was arrested; (3) the person was told that if he or she refused to submit to, or did not complete, a chemical test his or her license would be suspended; and (4) the person refused to submit to, or did not complete, such a test. 

The question whether a driver "refused" a test within the meaning of the statute is a question of fact. To comply with the law, a `driver should clearly and unambiguously manifest the consent required by the law. Consent which is not clear and unambiguous may be deemed a refusal.' In determining whether an arrested driver's conduct amounts to a refusal to submit to a test, the court looks not to the state of mind of the arrested driver, but to "the fair meaning to be given [the driver's] response to the demand he submit to a chemical test.  As such, whether a driver intended to refuse or not is not the determining factor.