Under California law, anyone accused of drunk driving must submit to a chemical test to determine his or her level of intoxication or their license will be automatically suspended for one year. But while you are required to submit to a blood or breath test after you are arrested, many people mistakenly believe they are also required to submit to a handheld breathalyzer if asked to do so by a police officer. In fact, most DUI lawyers in Fallbrook urge their clients to always refuse to take a non-admissible portable breathalyzer test.
Because the body eliminates alcohol as time passes, police are trained to collect a sample as soon as possible. These police-issued preliminary alcohol screening devices (PAS devices) are not nearly as effective as the large breathalyzers housed inside police stations -which is also why you are not legally required to submit to such tests -unless you are under 21, in which case, you have to submit to a PAS device if an officer believes you have been drinking and driving. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the devices from being used as evidence in court. While they cannot be used alone without an officially recognized and calibrated breath or blood test result, the evidence from a PAS can be introduced in court and used to strengthen the prosecution’s case, just like a field sobriety test. That is why DUI defense attorneys in San Marcos suggest always refusing these two pre-arrest tests.
It is worth noting that some police now carry real breathalyzers in their cars. If you are asked to submit to one of these tests, you must legally submit (or request a blood test) or you will be breaking the implied consent law. You can always ask the officer if he using a real breathalyzer or if he only has a preliminary screening device and if you will need to submit to another breathalyzer at the police station. If you are unsure whether the officer has a real breathalyzer or a PAS device, you should submit to the test (and if you are under 21, you should submit to the test either way).
Of course, even if you did make the mistake of submitting to a PAS device and/or a field sobriety test, you can still fight the charges. It is critical anyone who has been charged with a DUI immediately contact their Escondido drunk driving defense lawyer as soon as possible and to record everything that happened during the traffic stop and the arrest while it is still fresh in their memories. Even the smallest detail could mean the difference in fighting these charges.
If you have been accused of driving drunk, please call (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to discuss your case with Rancho Bernardo DUI attorney Peter M. Liss.
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