What You Need to Know About DUI Cases
The California Vehicle Code §23152(a) states that it is unlawful for any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, to drive a vehicle. If you are stopped, and the officer suspects you are under the influence, knowing what to do is crucial.
What to Do if the Police Stop You for a DUI
If the police stop you for suspicion of DUI, it is more critical for you to understand what not to do.
- Do not take the roadside Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS)
- PAS tests are notoriously unreliable, and there is a large margin of error for field testing. The PAS cannot help your case, but it can hurt if you blow over the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) of .08. There are only a few circumstances where you are required to take the PAS test, such as if you are under 21 or on probation for a DUI.
- Do not admit to drinking
- Decline the field sobriety test. The field sobriety test is not intended to prove your innocence, and taking it will not help your case. Sober people routinely fail field sobriety tests, and the pass/fail criteria are subjective.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to call a lawyer as soon as you have the opportunity to do so. Getting an attorney involved right after a DUI stop can significantly increase the odds of a favorable outcome if you’re charged with a crime.
What Happens if I Refuse or Fail the PAS
If you refuse or fail the PAS, you will likely be arrested. Once you are arrested, you will be taken to a police station or hospital to conduct a breath or blood test to determine your BAC. While you can refuse this secondary testing, it carries stiff consequences. You will be arrested on a drunk driving charge and a mandatory 48-hour sentence in county jail. You will also likely face a one year or more suspension of your driver’s license.
It is common to be held overnight in Los Angeles if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI. If your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, you will be informed that your license has been suspended for 30 days. Once all testing results are received, and if the result supports a DUI charge, a DUI Report will be submitted to the Los Angeles prosecutor, and a court date will be set.
The Consequences of a DUI
A DUI is costly, embarrassing, and it can have serious repercussions on your future. You may find yourself facing increased insurance rates, the loss of your job, difficulty obtaining work in the future, driver’s license surcharges, probation fees, and direct fines and penalties.
It is common to pay in excess of $12,000 for fines, fees, bail, and other related charges. Ongoing costs such as surcharges and increased insurance premiums can double the initial costs over time.
A DUI conviction will show up on every kind of background check done in your future, which will have long-lasting impacts on your future, including:
- A negative impact on your credit rating
- Loss of a CDL or the inability to obtain one
- Increased health insurance costs
- Inability to rent a home or apartment
- Loss of the ability to drive a company vehicle
- Delay or denial of an application for citizenship
Before you plead guilty to a DUI, it is crucial that you understand all the potential impacts it can have on your life.
Possible Defenses to a California DUI Charge
The prosecutor and a court-appointed attorney will pressure you to plead guilty to a DUI charge. Before doing so, you need to consult with a private attorney who is the only person in the justice system with your best interest in mind.
There are numerous possible defenses to a DUI charge. Some of the most successful include:
- The Field Sobriety Test is unreliable—Unreliable FST tests or faulty administration of the test can be a strong defense to a DUI
- Your BAC continued to rise—If you were drinking right before your arrest, it is possible that you BAC rose above the legal limit after you were pulled over
- Medical conditions that render false BAC results—Certain medical conditions such as GERD, heartburn, and numerous prescription medications can falsely inflate a BAC reading
- Police failed to follow proper procedures—procedural issues are common after a DUI arrest. One common example is that police failed to follow the appropriate chain of custody for your blood sample, resulting in that evidence then being inadmissible in court
Do not plead guilty to a DUI charge without talking to an attorney who specializes in DUI cases. A highly-skilled attorney can help you understand the best course of action after a DUI arrest.