Handling DUI cases for over a decade, you will hear all sorts of bad advice that has led well-meaning people into trouble.
This article is designed to shed some light on some common myths and misconceptions of the law associated with a DUI arrest and DUI Tests.
Most people realize that if you are licensed to drive in california, you must submit to a chemical test if the officer suspects you are DUI. If you do not, your license is suspended for at least 1 year.
What most people don’t realize is which tests are actually the mandatory tests and which ones can they politely decline to take. As simply as can be said, the only DUI test that you are mandated to take is a blood or breath test (at the station). You do not have to take a breath test at the scene (commonly called a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device). So the basic rule is, blood at clinic or breath at station is the only mandated test you have to take.
What if the officer wants me to do a “walk the line” test or “raise one leg and count to 30” ?
I can count on one hand how many police reports i have read where the officer found someone’s field sobriety tests to be “satisfactory.” Maybe, thats because by the time a report gets to me someone is arrested. But the truth of the matter is most of the tests are pretty hard to do, even when someone is sober and in their own living room, let alone after a drink and on the side of a the freeway at 2 in the morning.
Therefore, any physical tests at the scene of your DUI stop are not only discretionary but also pretty subjective. If you feel that you physically cannot do any of the tests, you should politely decline without giving a reason. If you give a reason, it will be highlighted and displayed on the reports and for goodness sake please don’t say: “I couldnt do these tests even if i was sober”
The one other tests that you should always refuse is the PAS test. This is the small device that is usually used at the scene as a breathalyzer. Do not confuse this with the chemical test at the station which is mandatory. The small PAS device is considered an investigatory tool and is not mandated by any california law. If you feel that you may be over the limit, pass on this test and take the chemical test at the station.
The other question I am asked is whether someone should take the blood or breath test. There is no clear answer here, but some factors make the breath test a better option. A breathalizer machine needs to be calibrated and tested regularly. It also needs to be used in a certain fashion to produce accurate results. With that being said, the breathalizer allows your DUI attorney to attack not only how the test was done, but the machine itself. The blood test can be retested but is generally perceived as a more infallible test.
If you do refuse the mandatory tests, the punishment is harsh. 1 year suspension and no chance of any restricted driving (to and from work).
The harsh penalties are even more reason to make sure you have an experience DUI and DMV attorney that has handled hundreds of DUI hearings.
If you have any questions regarding your DUI arrest, feel free to contact us at 562 907-4448 or at LABestDefense@gmail.com
Anthony A. Arzili
Los Angeles DUI Attorney