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Chemical Testing in California

Under California law, a person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given her consent to chemical testing of her blood, breath, and urine. In determining if the chemical testing is valid or not, the prosecutor must show that the original stop was valid. There must be a showing of reasonable cause that the motorist committed some traffic violation or was involved in some accident.

After arrest, the officer will inform the motorist of the California implied consent statute. The officer is required to tell the motorist of the three different tests. But if the officer does not, the evidence is still admissible if the officer told the motorist about one test and the motorist took that test. The test could be anything from giving a breath sample, to blood, to urine. The motorist can choose what test she wants and the officer is required to obey. The officer, however, may require the motorist to take more than one test if he determines that there is “sufficient need” for extra tests.

If the motorist fails to complete the test or refuses, the officer shall contact the department of motors vehicle. The department of motor vehicles shall revoke the motorist’s license for one year. The motorist has the right to appeal the decision. An administrative hearing will take place and the prosecutor and motorist will have a chance to show whether the motorist was intoxicated when she drove the vehicle.


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