.08 or Greater Blood Alcohol Concentration = Arrest
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) makes it unlawful to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. If your BAC is .08 or greater, there is a "presumption" that your ability to drive is impaired. Even if you are under the per se legal limit of .08 BAC you can be charged with DUI if your ability to drive was impaired. Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) says that it is "unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle." The amount of alcohol required for your ability to drive to become impaired depends on a number of factors, including your weight, gender, how fast the drinks were consumed, how much food is in your stomach, and how much time has passed since your last drink.
Evidence Against You in DUI Cases
The manner of driving is the first piece of evidence that will be used against a person charged with Driving Under the Influence. A driver that was involved in an accident or was observed driving erratically will likely face the accusation that this is evidence of impairment. Once a DUI investigation begins, police officers will ask the driver to participate in Field Sobriety Tests (FST) to determine if the driver is impaired. There are several Standardized FST's that are used during a DUI investigation, the most common being the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS) tests. Visit our DUI BLOG for a detailed discussion of FST's. Police officers who detain an individual suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in Los Angeles will also frequently use a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, also considered a FST, to measure a person's blood alcohol content. The PAS is a portable breathalyzer machine that police officers carry with them in their vehicles. If your breath test is .08 or greater, you will likely be immediately placed under arrest for DUI. Even if your breath test result is less than .08, if you did poorly on the FST's, were driving erratically, or were involved in an accident, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI.
A driver arrested for an alcohol DUI is required to submit to either a breath or blood test to measure their BAC. This is mandated by California's "implied consent law." This is separate from the PAS test, which is given as a FST prior to arrest. If a driver does not agree to take the test it will be deemed a “refusal” which will result in a minimum one year drivers' license suspension, and longer if the driver has prior DUI convictions. The law applies differently to drivers under the age of 21 who are also required to submit to the PAS test. Failure of drivers under 21 to submit to the PAS test will also be deemed a "refusal" and result in drivers' license suspension.
Problems With Breath and Blood Testing
There are frequent problems with the tests used in measuring a person's BAC. Breath test machines must be properly maintained with regular accuracy checks and calibration. Failure to do so will result in the breath test machines giving inaccurate test results. Proper records must be kept if the test results are to be used against you by the prosecution in Court. Similarly, proper blood draw procedures must be followed if a blood test is given and the blood vial must be handled properly during the period prior to the testing or the BAC result will not be accurate.
Consultation With Experienced DUI Lawyer
Many potential problems exist with breath and blood test results, for example the test results may not accurately reflect the driver's true BAC level at the time of driving. If you have been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, speak to an experienced DUI Lawyer today and call Berglund Law Office, P.C. today at (323) 374-3520 or fill out the form on our CONTACT page for a free and confidential consultation. DUI Lawyer Robert D. Berglund will personally return your phone call. Do not delay in contacting an experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. If you were arrested for DUI in Los Angeles and your driver's license was confiscated, you only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing to prevent an automatic driver's license suspension. CONTACT our office today.