If you or a loved are pulled over and arrested for DUI, everything you do from that point forward can have a material impact on your future. If you are facing a DUI charge in Los Angeles, it is absolutely imperative you contact an experienced attorney immediately. At Barhoma Law, we ensure your case receives the experienced and personalized attention required to fight your DUI Charge with the strongest and most competent legal defense strategies available today.Police Examination Intention to Illicit Incriminating Information
Usually, a DUI arrest stems from either a sobriety checkpoint, where law enforcement officials are randomly checking drives in search for people who may be driving under the influence, or when an officer sees bad driving or traffic violations that give a reasonable hunch of drunk driving or driving under the influence of some form of drug.
The suspected drunk driver is then pulled over to the side and asked to provide bare-bone detains—license, vehicle resignation, etc. But, contemporaneously, what the officer is doing is also conducting a search that is intended to illicit responses. Another search the officer is doing is a “Plain View” search, where the officer is looking for evidence in “plain view”, such as open beverages, a drug stash, or other incriminating evidence in the vehicle or on the suspected driver’s body. The officer will observe the driver for any signs of impairment, glossy/bloodshot eyes, slurred or impaired speech, or the odor of alcohol emanating from the driver themselves.
Typically, the police officer will start the search by asking where the driver is coming from or where they are headed. There is a specific reason why they are asking this question—they are looking to determine whether they can get an immediate confession. This also gets the driver talking to the officer so they can observe for further impairment. Maybe there is no slur in speech initially, but as the conversation advances, there is more of a visible impairment indicating intoxication.
If the officer suspects that the driver may be impaired, the officer will then elevate the situation to the next step—the officer will then ask the driver to step out of the vehicle to perform a potential field sobriety tests. This is yet another opportunity for the officer to continue conducting the search and illicit potentially incriminating evidence. The field sobriety tests are then used to give the officer more information regarding the likelihood of impaired driver and continue to mount evidence, whether legal or illegal, against you.Field Sobriety Tests: Should You Refuse?
Field sobriety tests are created to determine your balance, coordination, ability to follow precise directions, and other facts that can and will be used against you as evidence in a DUI matter. If the officer forms the assumption that the suspected driver is drunk or otherwise impaired, the officer then will arrest the driver. This opens the door to a wider array of search parameters.
Once an arrest is made, the officer will then provide the driver with an order of suspension (APS) and a temporary license. Once an APS is issued, the arresting officer will confiscate the suspected driver’s license, if it is a California issued license. From there, the suspected drunk driver will be transported to one of two locations, a police station or a hospital, where the suspected drunk driver will be asked to submit to a post-arrest breath or blood test. If this is refused, there are additional consequences for your driving record, including at least a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you are being arrested for a DUI, it is always best to be completely respectful towards the authorities. It is also important to make an educated decision whether or not it is worth it to refuse a post-arrest chemical test (blood or breath). Failure to submit to either of the post-arrest tests will worsen the penalties you face in the criminal case and make it that much more challenging to get the case dismissed or reduced.
Nonetheless, with an experienced DUI lawyer, there is still a good likelihood that a reduction is place. Though, it is important to keep in mind that there are mandatory sentences, which cannot be negotiated.Your Rights & Your Options
You CAN refuse a field sobriety tests without ANY consequences, despite what the officers may tell you. And yes, the officer will try to coerce you into it.
When being arrested for a potential DUI search, it is of utmost importance to know your rights and options. You are NOT required to take a field sobriety test. This is not to be confused with a post-arrest blood or breathalyzer test, which occurs after the arrest. It is generally recommended that you refuse the field sobriety test because it is an added search you do not need to submit to. Further, the field sobriety test refusal cannot hurt you. There are no consequences. However, if you agree to the field sobriety test, you are allowing the police officer more evidence to formulate his probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. As such, a voluntarily submission to a field sobriety test can only hurt you.
The only tests that are required are either the formal breath test or the blood test, which is more likely than not administered in a hospital setting.
Keep in mind that you have your Fourth Amendment right that allows you to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures. That means that police must validly form the required means to pull you over or arrest you. In other words, police officers must follow procedural safeguards that are in place to protect you from unlawful searches of your person or your property. If the authorities fall below the Fourth Amendment standard, a Barhoma Law P.C., lawyer will challenge the validity of the arrest and/or seizure and will already be seeking a dismissal of your charge.
One of the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment, however, is the sobriety checkpoint. A checkpoint is where officers can randomly stop vehicles without any probable cause. This must be done at random (e.g., every other car, or every three cars, etc.). If you find yourself in a checkpoint, it is recommended not to argue with officers about why they stopped you. Rather, bring that information to an experienced DUI lawyer to examine the validity of the stop. An experienced Los Angeles DUI arrest lawyer from Barhoma Law, P.C. can invalidate the probable cause in court, if it is determined the police did not have a valid reason for arresting, searching or seizing you or your property.Mandatory DMV Hearing
Once you are arrested for a DUI, you will be booked and then possibly released from jail. This commences one of the most important timelines of your DUI case. You have to request an APS hearing with the Department of Motored Vehicles (DMV). A DMV hearing gives your attorney the ability to content your license suspension or revocation as long as the hearing was requested within 10 calendar days from the date of the arrest. As such, it is absolutely advised that you seek a licensed attorney IMMEDIATELY after an arrest. Failure to do so will have immediate and grave consequence to your criminal and driving record. And it will further have material impact on your day-to-day life for the foreseeable future.
If you fail to request a DMV hearing within the 10-day timeline, your license will be suspended automatically for 30 days. This initial hearing is absolutely crucial, as it allows an experience DUI attorney to get a leg up on the evidence and discovery in the case. A win at this stage also sets the tone for the remainder of your case.
At Barhoma Law, P.C., we will contact the DMV immediately for you to request and schedule a hearing, so long as you contact us within the 10-day window after your arrest. We will handle the case on your behalf, so generally you will not need to appear in court or at the DMV.Contacting an LA DUI Arrest Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, contact the criminal defense team at Barhoma Law, P.C. today. No matter where you are at in the court process, an experienced attorney can come in and help you navigate the proceedings. We are available for you 24/7 at (213) 800-7664.