Your Rights When Submitting to a California DUI Breath Test
The staggering number of driving under the influence (DUI) convictions across the state of California is in no way a testament to neither the accuracy nor the validity of the state's breath testing equipment. If anything, the over 200,000 convictions taken in by California court systems every 12 months is more a testament as to how many California DUI defendants forego trial and plead guilty to their charges as a result of their belief in the accuracy and validity of the California DUI breath test result.
Although a driver suspected of DUI, who refuses to submit to a breath test greatly damages their chances of having their charges dismissed, those who choose to not take their case to trial, but do choose to appear in court only to plead guilty leave themselves absolutely no other option, but to accept the DUI conviction into their criminal record, as well as any and all penalties the court chooses to levy against them.
Have you been charged with driving under the influence after refusing to submit a breath test? Schedule a consultation to discuss your defense options today!
California Breath Test Laws
In the state of California, police officers who for whatever reason suspect you of being under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel will typically request you to submit to a battery of tests to aid in their investigation as to your level of intoxication. This battery of testing will likely include one, several, or perhaps even all of the following;
- Field Sobriety Test (HGN eye test, One-leg Stand test, Walk and Turn Test)
- Medically drawn blood test (to collect BAC evidence after arrest)
- Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS); handheld breath test used by officers in the field to get a “preliminary reading” of driver's BAC prior to arrest for DUI
- Desktop Breathalyzer Test (Evidentiary Breath Test such as the Dräger Alcotest given to suspected DUI driver after arrest to further strengthen case)
Now, although this is in no way meant to be misconstrued as any legal advice at all, you do not necessarily have to submit yourself to a Field Sobriety Test of any kind. Though you may further complicate your already intense situation, FSTs are not in any way supported by the California Implied Consent Law.
In fact, while police officers will rarely – if ever – disclose your right to do so, you do not have to submit to a breath test via the PAS handheld device also. The laws are clear on the collecting of evidentiary data while investigating DUI. Due to these handheld PAS breath test not being in accordance with the 20-minute observation, nor considered extraordinarily accurate in determining the exact BAC of a suspected DUI driver, PAS test is too not supported by the California Implied Consent Law.
**However, your right to refuse a handheld PAS breath test is voided if you are of illegal drinking age (under 21) and/or currently on probation for a prior DUI**
Chemical Testing You Are Required to Submit To
All this being said, as part of the Implied Consent Law, regardless of whether you want to or not nor how extremely high you feel your BAC result will be; you must submit to an evidentiary breath test after your arrest, as well as a physical forensic blood test if asked to do so. Refusing to submit to chemical testing after your arrest for DUI will almost certainly create a more difficult legal issue for you and your Visalia DUI lawyer.
Although an experienced and skilled DUI attorney adept in California DUI law and the strategic defenses surrounding the challenges and the defense against them may sometimes be successful in defending a California breath test refusal charge, you and your attorney have a much greater chance in court if you submit to a breath test as required.
While many might be unaware of alcohol effects on the human body and its absorption rate over time, most might be shocked to realize that depending upon their body's rate of absorption and other physical and/or clinical factors, it is highly plausible for an individual to have a blood alcohol content/concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, several hours since their having their last drink.
If you or someone you know has recently been charged and/or arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in or around Visalia, California, there are various circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest your attorney might choose to challenge depending upon your best interest. After investigating every aspect of your arrest, your California DUI attorney might choose to challenge probable cause, blood alcohol content (BAC) results, or perhaps even any of your rights that may have been violated during your arrest and detainment.
Quite often, human error on the part of the medical professional can quickly render any DUI blood test BAC result inaccurate, unreliable, and inadmissible as evidence. Improper handling of the sample, collecting or storing the sample in an unsanitary or inadequately sanitized container, and perhaps even the allowing of foreign substances to enter into the testing area causing cross-contamination consistently creates issues with the reliability of DUI blood test all throughout California.
Considering the possible implications of a Marijuana DUI conviction such as jail-time, driving license suspension, and a criminal record, it's prudent to secure a California, Visalia lawyer to attain the best possible defense. A competent and experienced criminal attorney can have charges dropped, help work out a plea bargain or even secure a temporary driving license.
It's a pretty serious offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The former carries a maximum sentence of one year and a fine—or both—if convicted, while the latter carries a max punishment of three years in state prison.
Do you have questions about a case? Visalia and Bakersfield area criminal defense attorneys at Martens & Brusseau can assist you with criminal charges. With years of criminal defense experience, our firm has handled thousands of cases. Attorneys here have the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia, Fresno, and Bakersfield areas, Martens & Brusseau can provide expert criminal defense counsel. CONTACT US AT 559-302-9722 OR 661-466-2142 TODAY