We are just days away from the beginning of summer. Bring on the warm weather, barbeques, and long daylight hours. Nothing can end your enjoyment of summer faster than being arrested for driving under the influence. Local police have scheduled checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols and task forces to get drunk drivers off the road.
Know the Law
In California there are two Vehicle Code Sections related to driving under the influence that can result in arrest. Let’s start with the one most people are familiar with Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b) driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater. This is a per se law which means signs of impairment are not required. The State of California has deemed all persons driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher DUI, regardless if the person shows signs of impairment. Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) driving under the influence of alcohol is a violation which most people are not familiar with. This section allows officers to arrest persons for driving under the influence if the person exhibits signs of impairment. A blood alcohol level is not required to arrest under this section, and a blood alcohol level under 0.08% can result in arrest. In fact, there are toxicologists out there that believe some people are impaired as low as 0.05%. Thus, anytime you drive with a BAC of 0.05% or greater you run the risk of being arrested for driving under the influence.
If you end up drinking and not using a car service or having a designated driver and you get pulled over, what key facts are important to remember?
Remain Calm: Carefully listen to and follow police instructions regarding where to pull over. Stay in your vehicle and wait for police to make contact with you.
Keep your Documents Accessible: Make sure to have your driver’s license, insurance and registration in an accessible place. Thus, when the officer asks for these items you can hand them to him/ her with ease and without having to fumble to locate the items.
Don’t Admit Guilt: In order for the officer to make the initial pull over the officer must have either probable cause or reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. The hope is that the officer will cite you for the infraction and allow you to continue on your way. Any statement you make to the officer can be used to establish reasonable suspicion to continue a DUI investigation. Additionally, those statements can be used against you later at your criminal case should you be arrested. Thus, carefully choose how you respond to the officer’s questions.
Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are voluntary. Thus, you have the right to refuse to submit to the field sobriety tests and the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test as long as you are not on probation for driving under the influence and 21 years of age or older.
Chemical Test: Should you be arrested for driving under the influence then California implied consent law requires you to submit to a chemical test. You have the choice of submitting to either a breath or a blood test should the officer believe you are under the influence of alcohol. Failure to submit to one of those tests can result in enhanced penalties, including but not limited to: jail, longer alcohol program, longer license suspension, and ineligibility to obtain a restricted license.
Be safe this summer! When possible designate a driver or use a car service to ensure you get home safely.
Facing DUI Charges? Speak with Attorney Kellee Parker Harris
If you would like additional information regarding the DUI process or how to protect your rights then contact the Parker Law Center today for a free consultation with Attorney Kellee Parker Harris. We can be reached at (800) 805-8804