DMV, Refusal to Submit to a Test and Confusion.
I received a call today from a potential new client who was facing a one-year suspension of his privilege to drive in California because of his alleged refusal to submit to a blood test following a DUI arrest in Los Angeles. His circumstances were unusual because the police had allowed him an opportunity to call a lawyer on his cell phone before deciding whether to submit to a blood test. Normally, the police deny access to an attorney prior to any blood or breath test because the law specifically says that a person has no right to legal advice before deciding whether to submit to a test.
The client had been involved in a traffic collision and suffered personal injuries requiring medical attention at the hospital. In these circumstances, the police may deny a breath test and insist on a blood test as it is impracticable to obtain a breath sample as the suspect cannot be transported to the police station in a timely manner.
However, the lawyer who the client spoke to was not a DMV defense attorney in Los Angeles and misunderstood the law. He advised the suspect that he could insist on a breath test and refuse a blood sample.
The client is not able to rely on this mistaken advice at his DMV hearing as only police officer induced confusion is a defense at the DMV. I advised the client that it will be necessary to find another relevant issue if he is to be successful at the DMV.
The above underscores the importance of seeking advice only from qualified DUI Lawyers experienced in handling DMV Hearings and who understand the issues.