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Changing Dui Law In Califonia
An officer may validly stop a driver for any traffic violation which occurs in the officer's presence, such as speeding, sleeping in a vehicle on the side of the road, weaving, failure to yield to a stop sign, etc.
After stopping the driver, If the officer reasonably believes the driver is DUI, the officer will question the driver about the amount of alcohol recently consumed by the driver. The officer will also commence Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). The FSTs generally include balancing tests, also known as Rhomberg Tests, eye tests, also known as Nystagmus Tests, and other quasi-scientific test which are designed to indicate to the officer whether or not the driver is DUI. Usually the officer will also administer a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS) by way of a portable machine designed to measure the amount of alcohol that might be present in the driver's blood. PAS tests are considered a FSTs.
Note: The driver has no right to interfere with the officer's short and reasonable investigation but the driver may refuse to submit to FSTs. In addition, the statements made by the driver during this short investigation, and before the driver is arrested, may be used against the driver despite the fact that the officer did not immediately read to the driver the driver's right to remain silent.
If the officer reasonably believes that the driver is DUI, after questioning the driver and administering the FSTs, the officer will usually arrest the driver.
DUI arrests are also validly made at checkpoints so long as the checkpoint is not set up for the sole purpose to catch DUI drivers. The checkpoint must be established for other reasons such as to check for valid licenses and proof of insurance, etc.
Also, a DUI arrest may be made at the scene of an accident, or even at the driver's home (usually after an anonymous person follows a suspected DUI driver to his or her home and then the anonymous person calls the police on the suspected DUI driver). Note: FSTs are not usually administered in the case of an accident.
After the arrest the driver is taken to a local city, sheriff, CHP, or county jail. At the jail the officer is required by law to give the driver the choice between abreathalyzer test or a blood test. This "choice" is sometimes overlooked by the arresting officers and usually the driver is taken straight away to either a breath machine or to a room where his or her blood is drawn by a phlebotomist.
Note: Refusal by the driver to take either test will result in a minimum of a one year suspension of driving privilege from the DMV.
After booking and the taking of the driver's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) by either breath or blood test, the driver is held in a "drunk tank" until the holding officer believes the driver is not a danger to himself or others.
In some cases, the driver is transferred from one jail to another jail before being "processed" and released. This is generally due to the fact that not all jails or stations have breath machines or phlebotomist on hand.
Note: The driver is not likely to be released after being "processed" on charges of felony DUI, such as where injuries resulted from a suspected DUI accident, or where other charges are alleged along with the DUI charge, such as hit & run, evading police, or child endangerment (when young children are in the vehicle upon a DUI arrest).
Upon release from Jail the driver is given a temporary thirty-day license (Pink Slip) and a citation which informs the driver of his first court date. The court date is usually set out several months in the future from the date of the DUI arrest.
Note: You only have ten days from the date of arrest for DUI to request a hearing from the DMV concerning a possible vehicle license suspension. If you do not request this hearing you will likely lose your privilege to drive in California.
A DUI Attorney will review whether or not the arresting officer had a valid reason to stop the driver in the first place, and if so, whether the officer had reasonable belief that the driver was actually DUI. If the officer did not have a valid reason for stopping the driver or a reasonable belief that the driver was DUI then all of the evidence of the DUI may be "suppressed," or unusable by the prosecutor at trial. For DUI checkpoint cases there is the additional requirement that the checkpoint be established for a proper purpose.
A DUI attorney will subpoena the videos from police mobile dash cameras, recorded 911 calls, audio recordings between police dispatch and police and police to police communications, in order to establish whether or not the police had valid and reasonable reasons for their actions. The DUI attorney will also seek declarations, or sworn statements, from witness to the event which are helpful to the driver.
Furthermore, DUI attorneys will test whether the arresting officer/s complied with very specific police procedures when administering breath tests, blood tests, or conducting FSTs. These rules are laid out in Title 17 of the California Rules of Regulations. If the officer does not comply with these specific procedures then the evidence may be suppressed for failure to follow the law; at a minimum, the failure by police to follow Title 17 rules will weigh in the driver's favor during trial or DUI plea bargaining.
In addition, a DUI attorney will also subpoena the recent calibration records of any breathalyzer machines, PAS devices, certificates of lab-tech or phlebotomist, and the background of the arresting officer. In some cases, the DUI attorney will have the blood retested by a private company to demonstrate that the government's testing of the blood was inaccurate.
If you are charged with DUI in San Bernardino County, including the cities of Redlands, Fontana, Chino, Upland, Colton, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Rialto, Yucaipa, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Ontario, and more!
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