I repeat client called me yesterday to tell me she was arrested for her third DUI last weekend. She was driving home from work at a local night club and was pulled over for swerving. I asked her about the contact with law enforcement and she told me she performed the field sobriety tests and attempted the field breath test at least 6 times.
She was then arrested and taken to Van Nuys Police Station for booking. The officers asked her if she wanted to take a breath or blood test at the station and she refused both. When I asked her why she refused she told me that her boyfriend had always told her to refuse the test. Her boyfriend is not a lawyer, or a police officer or a judge. He is another former client of mine, having been in trouble more than once and is in no position to give legal advice.
Now my client is facing a mandatory minimum 120 days jail for her third dui, plus more time for violating her probation. She is looking at a three year license revocation from DMV and can’t get a restricted license for at least one year. The worst part is that because she blew several times in the preliminary breath testing device in the field, the prosecution will likely have the best of both worlds. They can prosecutor her for the refusal and still get the blood alcohol results into evidence from the preliminary breath test.
What’s the right answer?
The right answer is to cooperate with the police if you ever get pulled over. Tell them your name and date of birth. Be polite. Don’t answer their questions about eating and drinking and when you last slept or where you were coming from or where you are going. Most importantly, always refuse the preliminary alcohol screening test in the field. It is an optional test. It is not mandatory. The cops are supposed to tell you that but they rarely do this.
Next, you must take AND COMPLETE a breath or blood test. Take the blood test if you can. If there is some medical reason why you can’t take a blood test, take the breath test at the station.
If you fail to take or complete an evidentiary test for alcohol you may face much more serious consequences in court and with DMV. With DMV you face a one year license revocation with no provision for a restricted license. In court you face the possibility of a longer alcohol school as well as the more likely potential for jail or other punishment like community labor in addition to the mandatory probation, fines and alcohol school.
There is some logic behind this theory. The reasoning is that the less information we give to the police, the harder it is for them to do their job. The more information we give the cops the easier it is for them to right their police reports and seal our fate in court. If we tell the cops when we ate, what we drank, where we were coming from and going and we blow into all their little machines and give them at least four strong numerical indicators of our actual blood alcohol, it makes their job very easy.
By contrast, if we tell them nothing and give them no numbers to work with, they will have a much harder time trying to justify why they think we are under the influence of alcohol and not safe to drive a car. After all, cops are trained, but they are not doctors and they are not scientists. They are simply using the information we give them to draw conclusions. The less information we give them about what we drank and the level of our blood alcohol, the more difficult it will be for them to hang us out to dry.
If you or someone close to you has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of the two, or if you are facing a DMV license suspension or re-evaluation, call a veteran lawyer who can help.
Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my sites for more information: