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How Is A DUI Defined Under California State Law?

In California, the legislature has determined that you can be charged with a DUI if you drive with an alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. The other way to be charged with a DUI is if you have alcohol in your system and you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle.

Whether or not you can safely operate a motor vehicle is determined by whether or not you can pass a field sobriety test that the police administer. It's also determined by how you were driving, walking and speaking. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

What Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DUI

If you've been pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles County, the police will start asking you questions in order to determine whether or not you are intoxicated or unable to drive safely.

They will smell your breath to see if they smell alcohol, but they will also directly ask you whether or not you have been drinking. Most people will tell the police that they have had a couple of drinks. At that point, the officer will tell you to exit your vehicle and they will begin conducting the field sobriety tests.

If the officer has a preliminary alcohol screening device (PAS), then they are probably going to have you blow into that because they don't want to waste a trip to the police station. If they ultimately determine that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle because of your alcohol content, then they are going to arrest you and take you to do a breath or blood test.

The officers are going to be looking for signs of intoxication. They are going to see if you can follow their instructions and they will check your pupils for dilation or bouncing. They will usually have you walk in a line, and then take nine steps forward and nine steps back.

They are going to have you tilt your head back and touch your nose, and they may also ask you to recite the alphabet backwards. During all of these tests, they are going to be evaluating you for signs of intoxication. As you can see, this is a very subjective evaluation and sometimes the police are not perfectly accurate.

Am I Required To Perform The Field Sobriety Tests?

You are not required to submit to the preliminary alcohol screening test or the field sobriety tests. If the police determine that you may be intoxicated and cannot safely operate a motor vehicle, then you are going to have to submit to a blood or breath test.

If you refuse, then you can lose your license for one year and there will be a presumption that you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. So, it's a bad move to refuse the blood or breath test.

Once you have been taken to jail, you can bond out if they put a bail on the case. However, if you did not get in an accident or hurt anyone, then you probably ought to just wait until the police test you and cite you out. They will usually cite you out once they determine that you are safe to go back out on the street.

Their biggest concern is that they will let you out while you are still intoxicated and that you will end up behind the wheel again. If that happened and you were to injure or kill someone, then they would be held responsible for that.

So, even if you bond out, the police are probably going to make you wait to ensure that the alcohol has left your system. In fact, they often have defendants perform additional breath tests before allowing them to leave the station. If you have been charged with felony DUI, then you may end up having to bail out.

For more information on DUI Charges In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.

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