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An alcohol breathalyzer and car keys, a potential combination leading to DUI - Manavi Law GroupInteracting with law enforcement when pulled over, particularly in situations like DUI stops, is so often overwhelming and emotionally charged. Understanding your rights and how to best navigate these sorts of situations is absolutely vital. We discuss this and more in this article, including:

Do I Have The Right To Refuse To Take A Field Sobriety Test In California?

In California, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are physical tests that the officer conducts to determine whether you’re intoxicated or not. When they do, they will ask you to get out of your car and perform some tasks. These can vary from having you walk in a straight line to touching your nose or counting out thirty seconds.

Many people don’t realize it, but you don’t have to take these tests just because the Officer asked. Generally speaking, its all voluntary, and I recommend politely declining to take them. Ask, “Officer, is this a voluntary test or a mandatory test?” When the officer replies that the test is voluntary, your response should be, “I don’t want to take any physical test here on the street, Officer. I’m sorry.” (Remember, it’s important to be polite in this situation.)

Many think that the Officer will be inclined to let them go if they perform well on these tests, but this isn’t necessarily the case. In reality, these tests are used to develop evidence that can be used to incriminate you later. After you complete one, they’ll likely ask you to do another, and so on and so forth. Regardless of what actually happens, when you later look at a DUI police report, you’d likely see the officer reported you as having performed terribly. By taking the test, you put yourself in a position where you are providing evidence against yourself, evidence that is nearly impossible to refute.

Do I Have A Right To Refuse A Breath Test During A DUI Stop In California?

Determining whether or not you can safely refuse a breath test is a bit complicated. There are two different types of breath tests commonly administered in California and you have to know which one you’re doing before you refuse. The first is administered using a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) device. You’re entitled to refuse PAS tests. On the other hand, you’re not allowed to refuse a Breathalyzer test without facing consequences to your driving privileges.

I Think The Officer Was Out Of His Jurisdiction. Does That Make My Arrest Invalid?

In situations where an officer is out of their jurisdiction but observes a potential crime, such as a DUI, they are still authorized to initiate an investigation. The officer can contact law enforcement from the appropriate jurisdiction to handle the case further.

In regions like Los Angeles, which encompasses such a large area, officers from neighboring jurisdictions may coordinate with local authorities to address incidents across boundaries. Therefore, being pulled over or arrested by an officer outside their immediate jurisdiction does not necessarily invalidate the arrest.

Do I Have To Answer The Police Officer’s Questions, Such As, How Much Did You Have To Drink?

If an officer asks you something like, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” it should set off a couple of red flags in your head and serve as a warning that the officer is building a DUI case against you. If you’re asked something like this, the only correct answer is, “Officer, I’d prefer not to talk about my night. If you could tell me why you pulled me over and cite me for that, we can both be on our way.”

Now, you still need to be as polite and professional as you can be. If the officer presses further, don’t lie. Instead, say something like, “Officer, I’m not going to speak with you about my night. If you could please tell me the reason that you pulled me over and write the citation, we’ll both be on our way.”

The officer may still, to arrest you for a DUI, but if he were to arrest you on the spot for not answering whether or not you had something to drink, it would be strong grounds for a suppression motion. In this case, I’d recommend going ahead with the arrest. Your car might get towed, and you’ll probably spend the night in jail, but you’ll ultimately have good odds of being able to beat the case.

Why Was I Asked To Perform Multiple Breath Tests?

Performing multiple breath tests, both on the street and at the station, is a standard procedure in DUI cases. The initial Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test on the street is used by the officer to establish probable cause for your arrest. However, the results of this test are typically not admissible in court. Therefore, once at the station, you may be asked to take additional breath tests using more reliable equipment, such as a breathalyzer.

The reason for conducting multiple tests is to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results. Breathalyzer machines can sometimes produce inconsistent readings due to various factors, including user error or technical malfunctions. Having multiple readings means law enforcement can better establish a consistent pattern and obtain reliable evidence to use in court.

If you’re asked to take multiple breath tests, cooperate as best as you can. However, if you encounter difficulties or believe there may be issues with the machine, you have the right to request alternative testing methods, such as a blood or urine test. Do everything you can to handle the situation calmly.

I Asked For A Blood Test During A DUI Investigation. Why Was It Not Offered?

Demanding a blood test is within your rights during a DUI arrest, and officers are generally required to provide this option if you request it. However, if a blood test is not offered despite your request, it’s important to bring this up to your attorney. Refusal to provide a blood test when requested can be a significant issue in your defense strategy, as blood tests are often considered more accurate and reliable than breath or urine tests.

Your attorney can use the fact that you requested a blood test but were denied as part of your defense strategy. This could raise questions about the validity of the testing process and potentially weaken the prosecution’s case against you. Therefore, if you believe a blood test is the best option for your situation, don’t be afraid to assert your right to it and inform your attorney if it is not provided.

Should I Have Refused Or Taken The Breath Test?

If you’re asked to perform a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test on the street, you have the right to refuse it. However, once you’ve been arrested and taken to the police station, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test, which could be a blood, breath, or urine test. Refusing to take the chemical test after being arrested can result in legal consequences separate from a DUI charge.

While you have the option to choose between a blood, breath, or urine test, it’s vital to consider your circumstances and consult with your attorney. Each type of test has its pros and cons, but many legal professionals, myself included, recommend the blood test due to its accuracy and reliability. Ultimately, the decision on whether to refuse or take the breath test should be made after careful consideration and consultation with legal counsel.

Why Does It Say I Refused When I Took The Breath Test?

In California, if you’re asked to take a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) and you refuse, it’s considered a separate offense known as a refusal. This means you declined to take any form of testing after being asked. Refusal may carry harsher penalties than a DUI charge.

If you initially refuse to take a chemical test and then later change your mind, whether the officer allows you to take the test is at their discretion. However, if you refuse initially and continue to refuse after being informed of implied consent laws, it’s considered a refusal, which is a separate offense with penalties harsher than a DUI.

In such cases, you may be arrested, and while you may be released the next morning, you could still face prosecution for the refusal charge in addition to a DUI charge. Therefore, it’s important to understand the implications of refusing a chemical test and to seek legal advice if you find yourself in this situation.

For more information on Chemical Testing In A California DUI Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 879-5616 today.

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