Every day, there are hundreds of people arrested in various counties for driving impaired. Some of these cases are extremely valid, the client has had lots of alcohol and cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. They speak slurred, can’t maintain their balance and just genuinely should have never driven to begin with. Alternatively, there are a group of clients who generally aren’t the best at balancing tests or are nervous and give answers to questions that appear to be indicative of impairment, when, in reality, they were just extremely nervous. The important thing to note that in any DUI investigation, there are a series of questions and answers and related field sobriety tests that determine if someone is safe to drive. Most of these tests appear easy to do. The officer asks you to close your eyes and estimate 30 seconds. The officer may ask you to take 9 steps heal to toe, etc. They appear easy. The officer who is well trained to do these tests in front of you has done it thousands of times, however, you are left to do these field sobriety tests in the middle of the roadway, on the side of a road, on an imaginary straight line. You are nervous, you are tired and you feel compelled to do a great job. Well, the sad truth to this entire reality is that most people don’t pass or fail because they aren’t pass fail tests. Field sobriety tests are tests created by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and they are not pass/fail. The officer is looking for clues. Therefore, if you felt that you “passed” the walk and turn test, chances are more likely that the officer found “validated clues” such as (1) not touching heel to toe, (2) using your arms for balance; (3) taking more than 9 steps; (4) not counting out loud; (5) stepping off the line, etc. Each test that is given to you has a set of validated clues that the officer is looking for. You are being tested on something that you don’t know what they look for. The best form of advice from an experienced DUI lawyer is that you don’t have to do these roadside gymnastic tests as most sober people don’t even do well on them. You have a right to refuse doing these balancing tests. They don’t tell you that you have a right to refuse, however, rest assured you do.
Great question, complicated answer. Most people who are arrested for a DUI have multiple things to do deal with following their DUI. Their car could be towed, they are given a temporary license by the DMV, they have a court date and they are worried about how the DUI will appear on their record. The best form of advice in this regard is as soon as you can get a chance to speak to an experienced attorney, you should. At KIA LAW FIRM, we speak to prospective clients all day about all aspects of criminal cases, especially DUIs. The things that most people need to understand that it is legal to drink and drive, it is, however, illegal to drink and drive over the legal limit (.08 in California – hence your CVC 23152(a) charge). Additionally, it is illegal to drive “impaired” as defined by CVC 23152(b). The impairment count is often alleged in DUI cases. Take a look at your citation. Most people have both charges on their written paperwork. You can “beat” a DUI case if your percentage of alcohol can be demonstrated to be under the legal limit AT THE TIME OF DRIVING. I should clarify that it is not illegal to be over .08 at the police station. The government has to prove that your blood alcohol concentration was .08 or higher at the time of driving. In order to show what your percentage is at the time of driving, we will need to do some analysis of your percentage at testing and then determine through a process called RETROGRADE ANALYSIS what your percentage would have been at the time of driving. It is commonly done in the FORENSIC TOXICOLOGY FIELD. There are over 100 different things we look for in determining if your case is ripe for trial or settlement. Call us at (951) 686-4818 to discuss.
The general rule of thumb is that you go to an expert in the field to get the best outcome. You can use the services of a public defender (yes, they are also lawyers), or, you can hire a private defense attorney. It is best to consult with a private defense lawyer to determine your options in deciding how best to proceed with your case.
As discussed above, California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) count deals with being an “impaired driver”. This California vehicle code doesn’t reference your alcohol percentage, it is called the “impairment count”. Essentially, you could be convicted of a DUI if you were impaired in comparison to that of a sober person. The government looks for signs and symptoms of impairment, including bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, unsteady balance, how you did on field sobriety tests, as well as a blood or breath test. The best form of advice when it comes to DUI investigations is that when confronted by law enforcement is not to do field sobriety tests, answer questions or try to balance on one leg. Unless you’re an Olympian in gymnastics, you’re probably going to not do so well on these tests. If you do a breath tests, keep in mind there are two types of breath tests. The first test is called PAS. It stands for PRELIMINARY ALCOHOL SCREENING TEST. This test is also a field sobriety test. The PAS TEST is a breathalyzer used to determine your percentage of alcohol. This test PAS test is completely voluntary. This test is great if you just recently had alcohol and you are on the decline. In other words, if you just had a shot of vodka before getting pulled over, it’s best to do this test to show that “at the time of driving” your percentage was low. Conversely, if you wait 45 minutes or longer, the alcohol that you recently had could fully absorb in your stomach and blood stream and eventually increase your blood alcohol concentration. In any event, if you were arrested for a DUI and you only had 2 beers, then you could have been arrested because the officer believed you were “impaired” for driving purposes (even if your percentage was .08 or less) on the breath test.
Another great question. The general rule of thumb is that 1 oz of a distilled liquor such as tequila, vodka, etc., is the equivalent of 4 oz of 12% wine or 12 oz of 4 percent beer. The effect alcohol has on your body in terms of increasing your blood alcohol percentage depends on various factors including your sex, weight and body fat. It is hard to generalize how many drinks you should have, but, generally speaking, most people can have 1 drink an hour and remain suitable for driving at that rate.
Absolutely not. In fact, we tell our clients to not answer questions. Generally speaking, this is what happens during a DUI stop. If you’re pulled over for a DUI, it is generally something related to bad driving (swerving, speeding, unsafe traveling) etc. Police officers are trained to ask if you have had any alcohol. Once you admit to having alcohol, you will likely be asked to step out of your vehicle to begin testing. The questions you will encounter will deal with the timing of when you had your first drink, your last drink, the number of drinks, if you are under the care of a doctor etc. You don’t have to answer these questions. You can politely refuse to answer these questions. You can politely refuse to take the PAS breath test. You can refuse all questions. The best thing to do after giving your license, registration and insurance is that you would like to invoke your right to remain silent and want to speak to a lawyer. At that point, the officer has to make a choice, does he/she arrest you and hope you’re impaired so that they can justify the arrest, or do they let you go. More discussions below follow.
Absolutely not. Invoking your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer at the initial questions of “have you had anything to drink tonight” is not only smart, but recommended. Unless you have genuinely had 1 standard drink described above and it has been over an hour since you had that last drink, it is better not to speak to the police about any aspect of your day, drinking pattern, etc. The old saying of “1 drink per hour” is pretty accurate. We tend to burn our 1 drink every hour. If you’ve had multiple drinks within the past hour, you may feel “fine” or “not impaired”, but the officer may think otherwise. Your refusal to answer questions can’t be used against you. You have a US Constitution right to refuse to answer questions. Exercise that right. Embrace that right. It may help you avoid a DUI conviction.
California is an IMPLIED CONSENT LAW STATE. That means you have already given consent for a peace officer who believes that you are under the influence to conduct a breath or blood test on you. Whatever you do, don’t refuse to take one of these EVIDENTARY TESTS. We did not say PAS TEST, we said EVIDENTIARY TEST. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, your refusal will be documented, most likely recorded, and your refusal will be used against you by the DMV and the court. Your refusal WILL RESULT in a highly likely 1 year suspension of your privileges to operate a motor vehicle in the State of CA. You will also have to deal with the refusal allegation in criminal court. Do yourself a favor and submit to a breath or blood test. Many people believe that if they refuse to take a breath or blood test, they have a right to do so. While you may mistakenly believe you can legally refuse a breath or blood test, don’t be alarmed when you’re surrounded by various police officers with a warrant in their hand authorized to take your blood by a Judge. If you refuse the breath AND blood test, most likely a Judge will grant the warrant and they will “force” the blood draw. Don’t make this common mistake and take one of these tests. The DMV treats refusals in a negative way and you can lose your license for 1 year for simply refusing.
The truthful answer is “maybe”. Our clients need to have an open mind about each fact pattern we analyze. We have a lot of work to do and the first is requesting your DMV hearing.
Yes, you can drive and that pink temporary drivers license you received is your official license. Remember, you have 10 days from the date of the incident to request a DMV hearing. We take care of the DMV hearing if you can get to us within 10 calendar days of the DUI arrest.
Absolutely. Sometimes we are hired for damage control. You had too much to drink, you thought you were good to go, but, you weren’t. In cases like this, we do the same analysis we do for ever case. We check to make sure your rights were violated. We often present mitigation packages to the prosecutor to show all the good things going on in your life and can often reduce your offense to a different charge or drop certain enhancements.
We know the process of getting investigated and arrested for a DUI is challenging and stressful. Many of our clients deal with PTSD from that experience. The answer to this question depends on what county the DUI happened in. For most first-time offenses, counties such as Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange County and San Bernardino County offer work release, house arrest or CALTRANS service in lieu of jail. On second offenses within 10 days, things can be different. We have to analyze each case separately. Call us for our thoughts.
Law enforcement is required to calibrate the device used to test your blood alcohol percentage. Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations requires that the breath testing instrument be calibrated every 10 days or 150 uses. In addition, when the test is performed, it is important that the motorist does not eat, drink, smoke, or vomit. We will analyze these things once we received the police report and accompanying records we would request from law enforcement.
The DMV hearing is an administrative portion of your case. We regularly defend clients in these hearing. The scope of the DMV hearing is limited to 3-4 “hearing issues” that can be located on the back of your California Temporary Drivers License (commonly referred to as DS-367). Go grab your DS-367 and read page 2, top section for the possible hearing issues. If we are successful in “beating your DMV” hearing, that’s half the battle. You will most likely still have to deal with the criminal case as well.
Yes, you can. We often tell clients to start a DUI class to get a head start on their road to getting this entire thing put behind them. If the DMV believes that you should have not been driving on a BAC of .08 or more, they can suspend your license for a period of time. If you are already enrolled in a State Approved DUI class, you will be happy that you started the class early. The earlier your start, the sooner you finish. That way, you can put one big thing out of the way. Also, don’t worry about how things look if you agree with our assessment and start your DUI class early. It makes you look “smart” and not “guilty”. Most of our clients that start programs early appreciate the results. If you have a borderline case which means that you were close to the legal limit, but not necessarily below .08, oftentimes the class can help a prosecutor reduce your offense as you have shown remorse and acceptance of responsibility to recognize the dangers of drinking and driving.
Absolutely not. In fact, we take pride in only taking cases we feel comfortable to take. We want clients that have an open mind, that don’t second guess our professional opinions and appreciate our love for what we do. We are a team of fun, loving and supportive professionals and we cherish clients that can appreciate the fact that we have done it before thousands of times and to follow our lead.
The simple answer is “we care”. We treat people the way we want to be treated. We want there to be sincerity, honesty and love. We don’t want our clients to feel like they’re just another client in the mix. Whether you have been accused of a low-level offense misdemeanor or a felony charge, we treat each case the same. Your case is important whatever your charge is. At KIA LAW FIRM, our team prides itself on making sure each client’s voice is heard. If you feel that the officer failed to appreciate your high school knee injury and brushed it off, tell us about it. This could have impacted how well you were able to balance on one leg etc. Moreover, attorney Kia Feyzjou is Board Certified in Criminal Law. If you want a specialist who is well versed in Criminal Law, call us at the office for a free consultation at (951) 686-4818. Our recent results and reviews online should tell us that you’re not alone and many of our clients have gone through exactly what you’ve gone through. We are here to help.
It is hard to say without speaking to you first. We need to know a lot more about the case including charges listed on your citation, whether there was an accident or someone was hurt, prior DUIs, etc. We offer a free consultation, always.