Arrested and accused of a DUI in California can be a shocking and frustrating experience. Many DUIs start with a speeding ticket or unsafe lane change violation of the California Vehicle Code. However, after a police officer observes the smell of alcohol coming from the driver, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and or lack of smooth pursuit in the eyes, then the officer will ask the person to step out of the vehicle. Once they are up walking, officers usually accuse someone of having unsteady gait and swaying side to side. These are common checklist items police accuse virtually everyone of that they arrest for DUI.
A DUI detention in Long Beach or Los Angeles, or any city in California, may be the result of a simple, "Yes" response from a driver. Driving under the influence of alcohol criminal charges most often start from small situations. For example, if a driver admits to drinking when pulled over for running a stop sign, the officer will instruct the driver to step out of the vehicle.
Making such an admission of drinking and driving usually isn't completely freely provided to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy or other police officer. However, if you are stopped by police, whether Torrance Police, Redondo Beach Police, Manhattan Beach Police, or any other police department in Los Angeles, California, or Orange County, O.C., California, the cop will ask the question, "Have you had anything to drink?" or a similar DUI investigation question. Maybe the O.C. Sheriff or CHP Officer in Orange County, CA, will ask, "How much did you have to drink tonight?" Or, "What did you have to drink tonight?"
If a driver admits to drinking, the officer will detain the driver long enough to do FSTs, field sobriety tests. These include small balance or instructional tests that seem simple. However, several small deviations, such as missing steps, not counting the right way, etc., will result in the officer deciding she or he has probable cause to make a DUI arrest. Often before arresting someone for a DUI, the officer will ask the driver if they would like to take a breath test.
A breath test is a device that measures the amount of alcohol blown into the device. The driver blows into the device and the air that is presumably from the lungs will have alcohol in it that in theory can be translated in BAC, blood alcohol content.
Most times, once an officer has detained a driver, forcing them to take Field Sobriety Tests, whether or not a driver submits to a roadside breathalyzer test, the person will be arrested for DUI. So rejecting the breath test device does not mean the officer will not arrest. It is likely that the cop would not even ask someone to the take the test unless they already decided to arrest someone. Likewise, refusing to submit to this preliminary alcohol screening device will still result in be arrested. However, if you take the test and it is low, that will increase the chances of not being arrested and charged with a DUI misdemeanor.
And for a quick review of the law, this is the exact California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and CVC 23152(b):
(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. . .
For DUI defense, call 310-817-5899.
NEW LAWS FOR DUI
Driving Under the Influence Laws 2019
The California Legislature imposed new laws for DUIs regarding an APS California Drivers License suspension and for DUI in Criminal Court.
This is a highlight of some of the new California DUI laws that went into effect on in January 1, 2019. It applies to all of California, including Southern California drivers in Los Angeles County and Orange County. The major changes involve installation of an ignition interlock device and the driver’s license suspension time or restricted driver’s license time.
Repeat DUI and 1st time DUI w/injury offenders must install an IID, ignition interlock device, for 12 to 48 months.
A driving privilege suspension by the DMV under APS law, Administrative Per Se law, can be made into a restricted license with the installation of an IID-restricted California Drivers License, SR22 insurance, and enrollment in a DUI alcohol program. For example, someone arrested by the CHP for a first time DUI in Long Beach, CA, who receives a 30-day temporary license, may qualify for a restricted license instead of a hard suspension, by satisfying certain terms that include installing an IID.
If someone with an IID restricted license later is convicted of driving under the influence in court, they can receive credit for time that they already had the IID restricted license. This means that the suspension from a court conviction can be reduced by the time the criminal defendant already had the IID installed.
However, to quality for the Ignition Interlock Device Restricted License, the licensee must take certain steps:
SR22. The licensee must acquire auto insurance and keep it on file with the DMV for three years. This must be done electronically by an auto insurance agent or broker who e-files it directly with the California DMV by way of an SR22. As long as the licensee continues to pay the SR22 insurance premiums, the insurance agent will continue to file the SR22 form directly with the DMV.
DUI Classes. The driver accused of a DUI must enroll in the appropriate alcohol program. For example, a 1st time DUI requires AB541. AB541 is a 3-month alcohol program that satisfies the California DMV and the Superior Court of California, for someone accused of a DUI and or convicted of a DUI. The DUI class provider electronically sends proof of enrollment to the DMV directly.
IID. The ignition interlock device must be installed by a certified installer. The installer will provide the licensee with a certificate to return to the DMV. This is a full-size sheet of paper that is green in color, that is filled out by the installer, signed, and embossed. The driver must personally take this green certificate to the DMV.
After satisfying all three of these items, the license pays the DMV a re-issue fee and will be issued a restricted license that allows the driver to drive to drive to work, and in the course of employment, and to the alcohol program. It is the driver’s responsibility to maintain the status of these three items. Any failure will be reported to the DMV and the court and may result in losing the restricted drivers license and a warrant and probation violation.
Note that the above applies to California Vehicle Code driving under the influence violations that involve alcohol or drugs and alcohol, but not only drugs. Courts still have the discretion to order a non-injury first DUI offender to install an IID for a period of up to 6 months. However, most courts in Los Angeles County (for example, Compton Court, Metropolitan Court, Torrance Court, Bellflower Court, East Los Angeles Court, Long Beach Court, Downey Court, Airport Court) and Orange County (for example, West Justice Center, Central Justice Center) order an IID as the DMV requires. This means that a term of probation will be to do what the DMV requires, as opposed to the court separately ordering specific terms. Thus, the defendant will not have to worry about separate court IID terms in most cases, especially a 1st time DUI.
If you need legal defense for your DUI, speak with your criminal defense attorney without delay, 310-817-5899.
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