The Suspect was Driving Vehicle While Under the Influence
There are thousands of DUI arrests every year in Los Angeles County. The way the prosecutors prove these California Vehicle Code 23152 VC cases is they have a few important boxes they have to check off. For example, they have to be able to prove that the person was driving a car at the time they were supposedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This may sound simple and basic to you, but believe it or not, I've had many issues when it comes to whether or not a person was actually driving their vehicle. For example, what if the person gets in a crash, stops her vehicle, parks and gets out of the vehicle and the police come 20 minutes later and there's passengers in the vehicle that the person got in the accident in.
Prosecutors must prove many specific factors in order to prove someone was driving under the influence. How do the police prove that the person was driving when that accident happened. That's one of the first issues that I see.
I've also had scenarios where the person gets out of the car after they've crashed into something and then they leave and try to make a phone call, gets something to eat — whatever the case may be. How are they going to prove the person was driving the car. People have run out of gas on the Freeway. The scenarios go on and on and on.
The bottom line is this, the police know that that's one of the things that they have to prove. So, when they get to the scene of a potential DUI/an accident, they're going to start asking questions. The questions and answers to those questions can check the box for purposes of driving. In other words, that can help them prove that a particular person was driving a motor vehicle.
So, if they say to you, is this your car here that smashed into this telephone pole? Yes. Let me see your driver's license. They ask, were you driving this car? Were you the one that smashed it into that telephone pole? Yes, I did. The next question would be what time did you smash it into that telephone pole?
Blood Alcohol Level At Time of Driving
So, they've proved you were driving. Now they're going into the next issue which is going to be what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were driving. So, let's say they test you two hours later. Who cares what your blood alcohol level is when you're at the police station. You're not driving there.
So, remember, when the police are trying to prove these cases and the prosecutors are trying to prosecute them, not only do they have to prove driving, they have to prove what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were driving. So, let's say they test you two hours later. Who cares what your blood alcohol level is when you're at the police station. You're not driving there.
So, they will have an expert who is going to attempt to extrapolate backwards and figure out, if your blood alcohol level was a .16 at noon, it must have been a certain amount at 10:00 a.m., for example, when you were driving.
Accuracy of DUI Blood and Breath Tests
In order to obtain a DUI conviction, prosecutors will have to prove your blood alcohol level at the time of driving. So, they have to prove that you were driving. They have to prove when you were driving, and then, probably the last thing they have to prove in most cases is, what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving. They have a variety of ways of proving that.
One, they could take your blood, which is probably the most accurate test and see what your blood alcohol level was from your blood. If they do that, they're usually not going to get the result back right away, so you probably won't find that out until you go to court. Your attorney might be able to get it earlier depending on the circumstances.
The second, and probably most common way figure out what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were driving is a DUI is a breath test. They have a couple of different breath tests that they use for DUIs. One is called a preliminary alcohol screening device. Basically, that's a little hand-held device the police, CHP, LAPD, Sheriff, carry with them inside their patrol vehicle. That is not really the most accurate test, but it does give them a reading.
It does give them at least an idea of what your blood alcohol level is, so they don't take somebody who's way below the limit into the police station and waste their time and resources — that's usually why they're using the preliminary alcohol screening device.
The other machine they use is called an Intoxilyzer 3000. Basically, that's the big machine back at the police station that is going to have the most accurate result for a breath test. So, they'll use that and a little computer strip will printout what your blow is. They'll usually have you blow a couple of times.
Now you have an idea of exactly what they have to prove for a DUI. Number one, that you were driving. Number two, what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving; and three, they have to prove that the test they are using is accurate and that your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater in order to be able to prosecute you and convict you for a California DUI..
Consult with an Experienced DUI Lawyer
Contact our law firm to review your DUI case. I've been doing this for 26 years. I've handled thousands of DUI cases and know the best defenses. I wrote a book talking about DUIs. I suggest you pick that up and give it a read.
You can get it Amazon and then come in and talk with me and I'll give you the straight skinny on exactly what it's going to take to win your case; what it's going to take to negotiate your case if that's the best thing to do for you, so you can end up with the best possible result.
Hedding Law Firm is a Los Angeles criminal defense law firm located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our firm for a free case review at (213) 542-0949, or you can fill out our contact form.