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What are the Consequences When an Admonishment of Rights has not been Read for a Refusal in a Southern California DUI Case?

  • September 3, 2017

    Here’s a great article from Edmond El Dabe – a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. California law presumes that each driver consents to take a chemical test if they’re accused of drunk driving. That is, when you drive a vehicle in California, you agree to take a chemical test if you’re arrested for drunk driving. This can be a blood, breath or urine test. Law enforcement gets to choose what kind of test you take. In most cases, they offer you a breath test.

    You have to take the test if you’re arrested for drunk driving. In most cases, this occurs at the police station or at the jail. A breath test gives the results almost immediately. If you’re over the legal limit, you can expect law enforcement to book you into jail.

    Most drivers don’t think about their consent to a chemical test until they’re arrested for drunk driving. To help drivers remember their rights, law enforcement needs to read what’s called an admonishment of rights. This is a paper that tells you that you have to take the chemical test.

    By driving a vehicle in California, you’ve consented to take this chemical test. If you refuse to take the test, the State of California suspends your driver’s license. This is the case whether or not you’re over the legal limit.

    Law enforcement officers receive training in how to conduct a DUI investigation. This training directs officers to read you the admonishment of rights to tell you that you face a license suspension if you refuse to take the test. However, despite this training, law enforcement officers don’t always complete this step of the investigation properly.

    There are a few ways that a law enforcement officer can make an error. They might completely forget to read your rights. They might read you the rights incorrectly. An admonishment of rights needs to be exact. Law enforcement can’t make any errors. Any mistake might lead you to refuse a test because you may not completely understand what’s going on and the potential consequences.

    If law enforcement forgets to read you the admonishment of rights, it can work to your favor in multiple different ways. First, you may not face a license suspension because you refused the test. Usually, any test refusal results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. The suspension lasts for one year.

    However, if law enforcement didn’t read you the admonishment of rights properly, you may be able to avoid this suspension. It’s up to the hearing officer to decide if the police fairly administered the admonishment of rights. If they didn’t, you may not have to serve this suspension of your license.

    If law enforcement fails to read you your admonishment of rights, you need to work quickly in order to request a hearing. You have only ten days after your arrest to make the request. If you fail to make the request, your administrative license suspension becomes automatic. If you don’t request the hearing, the police get away with failing to read you your rights.

    On top of not having to face the the administrative license suspension, you may also be able to avoid extra charging enhancements for your drunk driving charge if law enforcement doesn’t read the admonishment. You may still have to face the drunk driving charge. However, sentencing enhancements that apply to people convicted of DUI who refuse the chemical test may not apply to you.

    For example, for a first DUI conviction, if you refuse the chemical test, you must serve an additional 48 hours in jail. You also have to go to a longer driving school than you may have to go to if you had taken the test. For subsequent offenses, the additional jail time that you have to serve because of the test refusal is even longer. For a repeat offender, the extra time may be as long as 18 days. This is on top of any jail time that you have to serve because of the DUI conviction.

    In most cases, if law enforcement fails to properly read you an admonishment of rights before a chemical test, it can work to your favor. You may be able to avoid the penalties that comes along with refusing to take the chemical test after a DUI arrest. These penalties can be additional time in jail if you’re convicted of the DUI charge. You may also avoid a lengthy license suspension that usually comes with refusing a chemical test.

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