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What Happens During A Typical DUI Arrest In California?

The average DUI arrest begins when an officer finds a reason to pull someone over and then suspects that the driver is intoxicated. The officer will ask the person whether or not they have been drinking and will most likely continue to ask questions regardless of how the person answers. The idea is to try to determine when the driver was drinking, how much they drank, whether or not they were feeling the effects of the alcohol, when they were driving, where they were coming from and where they were going. The answers to all of these questions will help the DA develop their case by helping them to prove that the blood alcohol content at the time of driving was over the legal limit.

Once the officer’s done asking those questions, they will usually have the person perform field sobriety tests. One of those tests is for nystagmus and involves the officer holding up their finger or a pen and asking the person to follow it with their eyes. As the person follows the object with their eyes, the officer looks to see if the eyes move in a certain way. Other field sobriety tests involve having the person stand on one foot for a period of time and walk in a straight line in heel-to-toe fashion.

The officers are not just looking at the person’s performance on the tests themselves, but also their ability to pay attention and follow instructions. They are looking to determine whether or not the person can do two things at once.

The field sobriety tests can be refused, and that’s one thing that a lot of people don’t realize. The benefit of refusing is that they would not be able to use the person’s performance as a way to claim that they were impaired by alcohol. However, if a person does refuse the tests, then the officer will arrest the person and come up with justification so that a judge will say that it was a valid arrest. At the end of the field sobriety tests, they often have a person take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. It is considered a field sobriety test and it can also be refused.

If a person refuses to take the PAS, then they will probably be arrested. If a person consents to the PAS and is not intoxicated, then it can be beneficial to them. If the person blows something below the legal limit, then the officer will usually let them go. If the person blows above the legal limit, then that information will be used against them in court.

If the officer believes that the person is under the influence, then they will arrest them and place them in the police car. The officer will decide whether or not they are going to park the person’s car for them or have it towed. At some point in the process, the officer should advise the person that they have a right to refuse a blood or breath test. However, they expect the person to submit to the test.

The way in which an officer advises a person about those tests can have an impact on the case. For example, if they don’t give the right information about a blood draw or did not have consent or a warrant for it, then it’s possible that we can get the blood test results thrown out. There is a lot that goes on in that process. If the person decides to take the breath test, the officers will have them blow into a machine two times. If the person decides to take a blood test, the officers will usually call someone to perform the blood draw. They usually obtain a couple of vials of blood and then send them out to the crime lab for testing. It usually takes a few weeks to receive results from a blood test.

Once someone has taken the breath or blood test, they will have their photograph and fingerprints taken, which is a process that is sometimes referred to as booking. Depending on the policy of the specific police department, the person may be taken to jail or released to a friend or family member. This decision is usually discretionary; if the person has a bad attitude, then they will probably be taken to jail, but if they are cooperative, they may be released. The person will be given a temporary driver’s license and the hard copy will be taken away from them. That temporary license is valid for 30 days. On the temporary license, it will instruct the person to call the DMV within 10 days to sign up for a DMV hearing. However, many people do not read that or realize that they need to schedule a DMV hearing.

The first thing that a person should do once they are released from jail is call an attorney. An attorney can walk them through the whole system and let them know what’s going on. The attorney will usually call the DMV for the person and set up the hearing. If a hearing is not scheduled, then the license will automatically be suspended after 30 days. If a hearing is scheduled, then the license will not get suspended unless they lose the hearing. If they talk to the attorney, there may be other proactive activities that can help with the resolution of their case. It will also provide them with some peace of mind to know that they have a competent attorney working on the case for them.

For more information on Aftermath Of A DUI Arrest, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (925) 308-6444 today.

Derek R. Ewin - Criminal Lawyer, Walnut Creek City

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