DUI Arrest

A DUI arrest can be a traumatic, overwhelming experience, with complicated and ever-changing law. Though each case is different, you will probably have to contend with the following factors. To protect your personal rights, you need an experienced Sacramento DUI attorney. Call me for a confidential review of the facts of your case.

Traffic StopMore often than not, a DUI investigation will begin with an officer observing an alleged Vehicle Code violation. An officer may indicate that he observed speeding or weaving or some other alleged violation.

Reasonable SuspicionFor a police, sheriff, or CHP officer to pull someone over and start an investigation for driving under the influence, the officer must have what is called a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver or someone else in the vehicle is engaging in activity that can be considered illegal. A significant point here is that not every instance of weaving while driving can lead an officer to have reasonable suspicion. Moreover, not every alleged criminal violation leads to a pull over that is legal. Because of these subjective elements, if you have been pulled over it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced DUI defense lawyer. 

As you are aware from news reports, more and more patrol cars have been equipped with video cameras. Your attorney can obtain and review these videos and then use them in the court proceedings and at your DUI hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV Admin Per Se hearing).

Suppression of EvidenceIf there is no reasonable suspicion, your attorney can file a PC section 1538.5 motion (known as a motion to suppress evidence) to demonstrate that the vehicle pull over was improper and that any evidence that was obtained from that pull over should not be allowed. 

What that means is that if a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle but does not have what is considered “good cause,” then the evidence that comes to light because of that pull over (such as your statements, the smell of alcohol, and the results of field sobriety tests and other chemical tests) can be deemed inadmissible in the District Attorney’s review and prosecution of your case.

And generally, if all of the evidence resulting from the stop is thrown out, the District Attorney’s office will be forced to dismiss the case. If you have been arrested on a DUI, it is important to have an experienced criminal attorney evaluate your case to determine whether a motion to suppress evidence is appropriate.

Investigation at the SceneAfter a traffic stop has been initiated, and if the officer sees indications that alcohol has been consumed or drugs ingested, he will most likely start asking questions to determine what you have been doing and if you have in fact consumed alcohol or drugs. Generally, the officer will not advise you of your Miranda rights to remain silent. (An officer is only required to read you your Miranda rights if he is going to do an in-custody interrogation.) Though these investigations are stressful situations and it’s easy to get flustered and nervous, it is critical to bear in mind that whatever you say can be used by the District Attorney’s office as they decide whether to file charges and if your case does in fact end up going to trial.

Field Sobriety TestsAfter the officer concludes the preliminary investigation, he will have you step out of your vehicle and administer a number of tests called field sobriety tests, or FSTs. Police, sheriff, and highway patrol officers receive training on what “clues” to look for that might show that you have consumed alcohol or drugs and are “under the influence.” These FSTs focus on your ability to have “divided attention” and attempt to demonstrate whether you are able to do multiple tasks at the same time.

Preliminary Breath SampleAfter the field sobriety tests have been administered, you might be asked by the officer to give what is called a preliminary breath sample. Be aware that you are not obligated to give this sample. If you do give the sample, however, and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or above, then it is likely that you will be arrested.

Processing at County JailIf you do end up getting arrested, law enforcement will take you to the county jail. Each county has a separate jail facility run by the local sheriff department. At the jail, you will be required to give what is called an “evidentiary sample,” which means either a blood or breath test.

Post-ArrestOnce all testing has been done and any other information recorded, you will be held in custody until law enforcement is certain that your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) has dropped below 0.08%. In most counties you will be released as long as you promise that you will appear on a designated day in court. In some instances, such as if you have prior DUI convictions, if you have other DUI charges pending, or if the current incident involves a traffic accident or injury, you will be required to post a bond in order to be released.

Experience Matters in DUI CasesMy 20 years as a DUI defense lawyer in the Sacramento region – including previous experience as a prosecutor – give me the knowledge of California’s complex DUI law needed to an build effective defense for each of my clients. Call me at (916) 442-1200 for a confidential consultation.