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DUI Offenses

The majority of DUI's in California are misdemeanors. A DUI can be a felony if: (1) the Defendant has three prior DUI convictions in the previous 10 years or (2) if there was a car accident where a person, other than the accused drunk driver, sustained a serious injury.

Even if filed as a misdemeanor, a "simple" DUI charge is anything but simple. In almost every DUI case, the Defendant faces a criminal action in court as well as an administrative hearing in front of the DMV. To complicate things even more, the court proceedings are set for the accused drunk driver, while the defendant must request the DMV within the first 10 days after arrest. Failure to request the DMV hearing will lead to a license suspension that commences 30 days after the arrest.

There is also significant misinformation about "how much you can drink" before driving. It is well published that an average person can drink 1 alcoholic beverage per hour and "safely" operate a motor vehicle. Others will say that the strategy of 1-drink, 1-water will keep a driver under a .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Unfortunately, neither of these pieces of advice are any good.

As long as a person has a BAC of .08 or greater, they can be convicted of a DUI. Even if a person has under a .08 BAC, they still can be convicted under California Vehicle Code 23152(a), which prohibits "impaired driving, under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or both". Technically, this means that as long as a prosecutor can prove that you were "impaired" in any way and prove there was a small amount alcohol in your system, you can still be convicted of a DUI!

In a Court of Law, the prosecutor must prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. That means they must prove every element of the case-- from the probable cause of the stop, to the reasonableness of the police officer's investigation, to the testing methods used to determine the defendant's blood alcohol concentration.

The team at Manavi Law Group, APLC will examine, and reexamine, every aspect of the prosecutor's case. Depending on the facts, blood experts or breathalyzer experts may be called as witnesses to testify on your behalf. We will aggressively pursue the best avenues of defense on your behalf. Just as important, our experience dealing with the Court and the DMV will ensure the best possible outcome in your Los Angeles DUI case.

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI in California, contact us for a confidential consultation about your rights or call (310) 879-5616.

Dealing With DUI Charges In California

Dealing With DUI Charges In California

The following article will cover:

  • How to choose between breath and blood samples during a DUI investigation in California.
  • Decision-making regarding alcohol consumption questions, field sobriety tests, and preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests.
  • The advantages of blood tests, such as retesting possibilities and chain of custody challenges.

Should I Give A Breath Or Blood Sample During A DUI In California? What Happens If I Refuse?

Navigating a DUI investigation requires understanding the consequences and implications of your actions. Let's clarify the process for you:

  • Choosing Between Breath And Blood Samples: In most DUI scenarios, it's advisable to opt for a blood sample over a breath sample. This choice comes down to the timing…
    • Breath samples are typically taken immediately at the scene, capturing potentially higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
    • Opting for a blood sample often results in a delay, given the necessary travel time to a station, allowing your BAC to decrease slightly.
  • Answering Questions About Alcohol Consumption: If questioned about your alcohol consumption, refrain from disclosing specifics, such as admitting to having "two beers." Instead, a more appropriate response would be, "Officer, I don't want to discuss my night with you. Can you tell me the reason for the stop?"
  • Field Sobriety Tests and Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS): Field sobriety tests, like physical actions or using the PAS device, are voluntary in California. For your best interests, consider declining these tests. Here’s why…
    • It's possible that refusing these tests might lead to your arrest. However, if any alcohol is detected during these tests, arrest is almost guaranteed. Thus, minimizing evidence against you is often in your best interest.
    • Always inquire if a test is mandatory or voluntary. If the officer hesitates or suggests it's voluntary, consider declining.
  • Mandatory Tests At The Station: Once you’re at the police station, you will be required to undergo either a blood test or a formal breathalyzer test.
    • There is a difference between the handheld PAS device used at the scene and the more sophisticated breathalyzer machine at the station. The latter is more accurate and often mandatory.
  • Blood Test Advantages: There are two main advantages to choosing a blood test over a breath test…
    • Retest Possibility: Blood samples can be re-analyzed by defense teams. In borderline cases, this can significantly impact the outcome.
    • Chain Of Custody: Blood samples must be handled and processed correctly from collection to lab analysis. Any discrepancies in this process can be challenged in court, potentially leading to the suppression of results. Mistakes are commonplace and a knowledgeable attorney can identify and exploit these errors for the defendant's benefit.
  • Breath Test Limitations: There are two main limitations to choosing a breath test over a blood test…
    • Lack of Retesting: Breath tests provide instantaneous results that can't be revisited later for further analysis.
    • Calibration Issues: While machines may occasionally have calibration errors, they are less common than errors in the blood sample's chain of custody, and therefore harder to challenge in court.
  • Mandatory Testing & Implied Consent: Once arrested, California's implied consent law requires you to undergo either a breath or blood test. This applies whether you're suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, like marijuana or cocaine.
  • Refusing A Test: It's crucial to understand that while you can refuse preliminary and voluntary tests, refusing chemical testing after an arrest can have serious consequences…
    • Presumption Of Guilt: Declining a test can be seen as an admission of guilt, even if not legally so.
    • Increased Penalties: Refusing a mandatory test is a violation of implied consent laws, resulting in a separate charge that can attract penalties more severe than those for a DUI conviction.

To maximize your defense options during a DUI arrest, it's advisable to decline all voluntary tests initially. However, once at the station, if presented with a choice between mandatory tests, opting for a blood test can provide broader defense avenues.

It's of utmost importance to always comply with mandatory tests after an arrest to steer clear of additional charges and heightened penalties. Being well-informed and understanding your rights is pivotal in such situations. When faced with uncertainty, it's always best to consult with legal counsel to ensure that your decisions align with your best interests. For more information on Dealing With DUI Charges In California, an initial consultation is your next best step.

More Information:

Manavi Law Group, APLC - Beverly Hills, CA

Call Me For Your Free, 20 Min Phone Consultation (310) 879-5616

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