DUI arrests can be complicated. There are a lot of aspects that snowballs into harsher consequences hence the need to involve an attorney once you get arrested. A professional defense attorney will help you in dealing with every process and give advice when needed. If you are in Shady Dell, CA, San Diego DUI Attorney will offer credible legal services throughout your DUI investigation and arraignment process.
DUI Investigation, Booking, and Release
Ideally, DUI investigation starts once a police officer pulls you over for violating a traffic rule if you have something wrong with your vehicle or you had an accident. Regardless of how the investigation starts, the DUI officer will write something in their report. The report will state that upon speaking to you, the police officer observed that you had an alcoholic beverage odor emitting from your breath, and you displayed objective signs of intoxication to prove that you were DUI. Common Objective signs of intoxication include a flushed face, slurred speech, and bloodshot eyes.
The DUI officer will then ask you to take a field sobriety test (FST) or an on-spot breath test, which is referred to as the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test.
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
In a field sobriety test, two types of tests are considered. This includes standardized and non-standardized tests. Below is a breakdown of common standardized tests.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
This is an involuntary jerking of the eyes that happens to everyone after rotating the eyes at a high peripheral angle. An intoxicated person has an exaggerated jerking, which occurs at a smaller angle.
When a police officer is conducting HGN, he or she will ask you to follow an object such as a pen or flashlight while moving it from one side to the other. The DUI officer will check whether:
- You can follow the object smoothly
- Your jerking is distinct when the eye reaches a maximum deviation
- The angle of the jerking during the onset is within forty-five degrees
If the driver gets four or more between the two eyes, there are high chances that the blood-alcohol content of the driver will be 0.1o or more. According to NHTSA research, HGN is accurate by 77% to the test subjects.
In this test, the police officer asks the driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps, on a straight path, turn using one foot and make nine steps along the same path.
During the test, the police officer will check the following seven signs of impairment:
- Whether the driver starts to react before the police officer finishes the instructions
- Whether the driver can maintain balance and listen to the police officer’s instructions
- If the driver stops to regain balance
- If the driver uses his or her arms to restore balance
- Whether the driver loses his or her balance when turning
- If the driver fails to make the right steps
- Whether the driver stops to restore balance while performing the test
If the driver exhibits a few of the indicators provided above, there is a 68% likelihood that he or she has a BAC level of 0.10 or more.
The One-Leg Stand Test
In a one-leg stand test, the police officer will instruct you to stand on one foot while the other is raised to a level of an approximate of six inches and start counting from 1,001 till the officer instructs you to put the foot down.
Within the next thirty seconds, the DUI officer will check on the following four indicators:
- If you are swaying while maintaining your balance
- Whether you are trying to use one arm to balance
- If you are hoping to maintain balance
- Whether you will try putting down the foot
If a driver shows a few of the indicators stated above, there is a 65% likelihood that one has a 0.10 BAC level or higher.
Your prosecutor can use the results acquired from the standardized tests during your trial. However, a DUI attorney will employ relevant defenses to justify that the results obtained from the standardized test are not reliable.
Other than the three standardized tests that the officer might subject you to, there are also a few non-standardized tests that the officer can consider. These tests are as follows:
The Finger Count Test
In this test, the police officer will instruct the driver to put one hand up and extend the palm facing upward. The DUI officer will then instruct the driver to touch the top of the thumb separately and start counting the rest from the index to the little finger. The driver should count the four fingers loudly while touching the fingers with the thumb. Later on, one is expected to reverse the process and complete the test with three complete sets.
While the officer is administering this test, he or she will look at the following five factors to check whether the driver is intoxicated.
- Capacity to follow instructions
- Capacity to count correctly
- Performance of the correct number set
- Ability to start or stop doing something when instructed
- Whether the driver can touch each finger separately without breaking the sequence
The Rhomberg Balance Test
The Rhomberg balance test aims to test the “internal clock” of the driver. The driver will instruct the driver to stand on one foot, tilt his or her head slightly, close the eyes, estimate the passage of thirty seconds, move the head in the opposite direction, open the eyes, and stay stop.
During the administration, the DUI officer will check on the following six factors:
- The amount and direction of the swaying
- Whether the estimated passage is approximately thirty seconds
- Whether the muscle tone is flaccid or rigid more than normal
- Eyelids or body tremors
- Any unusual sounds or statement made by the driver during the test
- The ability of the driver to follow instructions
The Finger-to-Nose Test
This test counts as one of the oldest DUI tests. The officer instructs the driver to touch the tip of the nose with the index finger while the eyes are closed, and the head is tilted slightly backward. The driver will have to forego the movement six times while the driver instructs him or her, which finger to use.
During the test, the DUI officer will check the following seven factors to confirm whether the driver is intoxicated or not.
- Ability to take heed of instructions
- The extent of swaying
- Body or eyelid tremors
- Depth perception
- Whether the driver will touch his or her face using the index finger
- Muscle tone
- Unusual sounds or statements from the driver during the test
The Hand Pat Test
In this test, the officer aims to check whether the driver can maintain undivided attention. The driver should pat one side of his or her hand and the other one while counting. The hand at the top should rotate at an angle of 180 degrees while alternating between the back of the hand and the palm as the other one remains stationary. The suspect should start counting out loud by alternating numbers such as one, two, four, five, among other options.
During the test, the DUI officer will be checking the following four aspects to confirm whether the driver is sober. This includes:
- Ability to count correctly
- Whether the driver can follow instructions
- Rotation and sequence during the hand patting
- Proper timing
There is a significant variation when police officers rely on non-standardized tests. Therefore, our Shady Dell DUI attorney will put a motion to the court to avoid relying on the results acquired from the non-standardized since their accuracy and legitimacy is questionable.
Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test
After you have failed the field sobriety test, the police officer will be inclined to conduct a preliminary alcohol screening test. The test is optional unless you are under the age of 21 or you are on probation due to a previous DUI offense.
The police officer is required by the law to tell you that the PAS is optional, although most of them present it as if it is not optional. If you refuse to take the PAS test, this can result in enhanced penalties once you are convicted with DUI or a minimum of one year of your driver’s license suspension.
Ideally, the testing is done on the roadside using a hand-held breathalyzer. However, a driver can get a post-arrest test which is given at the police’s desktop at the station. If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, the test is administered through a mobile police unit.
It is essential to consider whether you are getting a pre-test or post-test rather than where you will be taking the test. You can decline from a pre-test as long as you are at least twenty one years old and you are not serving any probation for a prior arrest.
However, once you are under the police custody, you can refuse to take the breath test if you have a blood test available, and you have asked to take a blood test.
Although PAS tests are considered to be credible, there are a lot of legal defenses that our Shady Dell DUI attorney can employ to do away with the results presented against you and help in dismissing your case.
How the PAS Test Works
When one consumes alcohol, it gets to the stomach and small intestine and passes into the bloodstream to the organs. However, a small amount of alcohol gets excreted into our lungs, which is the measurable amount that a PAS test can detect.
Breath tests are different from blood tests since they do not measure the BAC directly, but mathematically convert breath alcohol into a rough BAC percentage. Therefore, DUI tests are somehow considered less reliable compared with DUI blood tests.
Post DUI breath tests have a lot of strict regulations that govern them. These regulations are related to breath test operators and how the breathalyzers are maintained. Even so, the PAS tests are not subjective to these rules making them less reliable than the post-arrest DUI breath tests.
In that case, it would be best to involve a professional attorney like our Shady Dell DUI attorney who can argue out over the unreliability of the test results to dismiss your case or reduce the charges.
DUI Booking Process and Release
Once the driver has been arrested and transported to the police station, the booking process officially starts. This is a process that involves the collection of the suspect’s data and running them in a Livescan Database that warrants different state departments about your active warrant. The process takes about two hours, depending on how busy a police station is. It involves a couple of procedures that are discussed below.
Police officers have no concern over any coaxing confession during your DUI process since everything to do with a DUI case depends on the toxicology results. However, they usually take the suspect through a questioning procedure as a routine for filing the arrest report and paperwork.
The suspect should fill these answers truthfully and cooperate with the police officer. However, it is essential to avoid protecting yourself from self-incrimination before you make any spontaneous admission or statement. That’s why you should hire our Shady Dell DUI attorney to help you through this process.
As soon as the police officers gather relevant information about you, they will run a background check on you to check any additional charges or whether you have any active warrants. The background check also reveals any information that the prosecutor can use to pursue the case more effectively.
Fingerprinting and Photography
The arresting officer will take your fingerprints and add them to the national database, which is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This should not cause any alarm since it is just a standard account. The DUI officer will also take a mugshot to identify the suspect and show how one looks after an arrest. The shots can be crucial in case the arrestee alleges that excessive force was used or abused.
Additional Toxicology Tests
Although the roadside tests might be reliable, the arresting police officer might order further DUI testing to provide the prosecutor with reliable results of your BAC reading. The testing might use sophisticated breath test equipment, although the process is pretty straightforward. If the driver has passed out, the officer might order a blood sample.
Placing in the Holding Cell
After you have been processed and booked, the police officers will put you in a holding cell before the arraignment starts. According to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, the time limit for the holding should be 48 hours, which is extendable to 72 hours if the judges are not available and if it is a weekend or a public holiday.
Please note, if you are held for an unreasonably long period, our Shady Dell DUI attorney will consider this as police misconduct and will have you compensated as provided under California’s false imprisonment law. Even so, unlawful detention cannot lead to an automatic dismissal of your case unless:
- You prove that the delay disadvantaged your chances of a fair trial
- You suffered some type of unfair jury or prejudice
DUI Arraignment Process
An arraignment works as the first formal court proceeding in a criminal court process. It can be described as a stage where:
- The court tells you of your Constitutional rights
- You will learn the specific charges that are filed against you
- You will get the first opportunity to enter a plea
- The court will either set, modify, or acquit your bail
Several rights apply during the arraignment as provided by both the United States and the California Constitution. Your constitutional rights are as follows:
- The right to be represented by an attorney or a court-appointed public defender if you cannot afford to hire an attorney
- The right to get a speedy trial
- The right to protect yourself from self-incrimination
- The right to a jury trial
- The right to bring and confront witnesses
Please note, if you have committed an infraction, you are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney or a trial through a jury.
Our Shady Dell DUI attorney will come along with you during the arraignment. Also, you should bring along the paperwork received from the temporary hold and your bail bondsman. Your attorney will also bring documents or evidence that can work as your defense. On the other hand, you will leave with a copy of the complaint sheet and the police report.
The prosecutor will use the arraignment to inform you of your charges and take this opportunity to give you an offer, which includes the sentence that he or she will be seeking for the crimes you are alleged to have committed.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
The fact that you are facing DUI charges means that there are quite a lot of legal considerations to make. It is hard to handle these considerations if this is your first DUI charge. Therefore, hiring a DUI attorney would be a great benefit to the success of every procedure that you go through. The San Diego DUI Attorney will proudly match all the expectations you have and is ready to offer the best legal services. Contact us at 619-535-7150 and let us handle your case.