When a driver is pull over and is suspected of driving under the influence (“DUI”), their first thoughts might be on the officer’s question, “Have you had anything to drink today?”
The First Step in a DUI Investigation is Being Pulled Over
You cannot be forced to answer this or any other incriminating questions. The best response to any questions is would be that you would rather speak to a DUI attorney before answering. Since a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or under is not considered driving under the influence, mentioning you had one beer would explain any alcohol smell on your breath without incriminating you.
The Second Step in a DUI Investigation is Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests (“FST”) are the second step when investigating a possible DUI. Although you don’t have the right to consult your attorney prior to deciding whether you want to submit to field sobriety tests, you do have the right to politely decline them.
Legally you are not required to submit to these tests, which is often a wise decision. An officer may have a subjective view regarding these tests and decide you have failed them even if the results are not conclusive. However, the test results can be used in court to help convict you for DUI. If the officer truly suspects you were intoxicated, chances are high that he will not walk away and let you go.
The Third Step in a DUI Investigation is a Preliminary Alcohol Screening
A Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (“PAS”), is the breath test, often used as a pre-arrest chemical test but also used after being arrested as well. It is the most common test an officer will use to determine if a driver is driving under the influence. Before being arrested you may refuse this test. If you think your blood alcohol level is high, taking a breath test gives you the possibility of challenging the results later.
The Fourth Step in a DUI Investigation is Arrest
In you are lawfully arrested for a possible DUI, you are required to submit to chemical testing by the officer to determine your blood alcohol content under California’s “Implied Consent Law.”
After being arrested, you may be given the choice of submitting to blood or breath tests. Breath test results may be unreliable since they don’t actually test the blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”), only a blood test can determine this. Because of this, breath tests can only indirectly estimate your BAC.
Since blood tests are the most accurate, if you think your blood alcohol level is below the 0.08 legal limit, you should choose it instead of a breath test. Blood samples have specific rules by which they must be preserved so they can later be available for independent testing by your attorney or for later analysis.
While you can’t be forced to submit to chemical tests, if you refuse your California Driver’s License will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles for one year, whether you are convicted of the suspected DUI or not. To contest this suspension you must request a hearing within ten days after the date you were arrested.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need the expert advice and representation of a DUI attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800