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Encino DUI/DWI Law Blog

How accurately do breath tests determine blood alcohol content?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2011 alone, the most recent year for which statistics were reported, there were more than 1.2 million people arrested on charges of DUI for alcohol or drugs. It is likely that methods, including the administration of breath tests, were used in many of these cases in order to determine a driver’s blood-alcohol content level and whether or not they should be arrested. Due to inaccuracies in the results from these types of tests, however, innocent motorists may find themselves under arrest for DUI.

Breath tests are performed using a machine that tests for the presence of alcohol in a person’s breath. In order to determine the blood alcohol content, which is what is actually used to indicate whether or not a person is intoxicated, the breath alcohol content is converted to blood alcohol content using a standardized formula. 

NBA's PJ Tucker reaches plea deal for super extreme DUI arrest

There are numerous people arrested each year in California, and all across America, on suspicion of driving under the influence. The possible penalties for a conviction on drunk driving charges can have a range of penalties, which vary by state. In the state of California, the potential consequences for convicted drunk drivers can include fines, driver’s license suspensions, jail time, DUI school, community service and installation of an ignition interlock device into their vehicle.

According to reports, NBA player, PJ Tucker, reached a plea deal recently in the case of his May 2014 DUI arrest. It was reported that the Phoenix Suns star will serve a two-day jail sentence in Montebello City Jail in California, rather than in Maricopa County’s famed Tent City. Tucker will be on house arrest for 11 days following his release from the jail. It is unknown to the public at this time whether his sentence also includes fines or a license suspension.

California DUI penalties: Driver's license suspension

A number of motorists are arrested every day throughout California, and all of the U.S., on suspicion of drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were an estimated 1.4 million arrests made for driving under the influence in 2010 alone, the most recent year for which statistics were available. Once arrested, drivers, who are found to have a blood alcohol content in excess of the legal limit, may be charged, and subsequently convicted of these offenses. For some motorists, these arrests mean a lengthy driver’s license suspension, which can affect their personal and professional lives.

The state of California has established an administrative program to suspend the driver’s licenses of people who have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI. This program is known as the Admin Per Se program. Under the program, the California Department of Motor Vehicles immediately suspends the licenses of drivers, age 21 and older, who have been arrested for DUI and meets any of the following conditions:

Mom faces enhanced DUI charge for arrest with child in San Rafael

Most readers in Los Angeles County, and elsewhere, are aware of the prospective criminal charges that may come if a motorist is suspected of drunk driving. Many people may not know, however, how the severity of these charges, and their potential consequences, may be increased should a driver, who is accused of driving drunk, be pulled over with a child in the vehicle.

One mother could reportedly be facing a litany of charges after she was pulled over with her 6-year-old daughter in the car in San Rafael recently. According to reports, she was arrested on a range of charges, including DUI with enhancements for having a blood alcohol content in excess of 0.15 percent and for having a passenger under the age of 14. She was also booked for suspicion of child endangerment, a felony charge. Any consequences that the woman could face if convicted were not reported.

Man suspected of DUI in fatal Sunnyvale crash, arrested

In California, and elsewhere, drunk driving is among the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. As a result of an increased desire to reduce these numbers, drivers can face additional and upgraded charges when, following an accident, they are accused of drunk driving. This can lead to more serious potential consequences, including a longer prison or jail sentence, increased fines and driver’s license suspensions.

A 34-year-old man was arrested in Sunnyvale recently after being involved in a fatal car accident. He is reportedly accused of having caused the wreck, for which, according to California Highway Patrol, speed and alcohol played a part in causing. Law enforcement officers arrested the man on suspicion of drunk driving. He could face a felony DUI charge, in addition to one for vehicular manslaughter. News sources did not indicate, however, when formal charges might be filed.

State appeals court upholds conviction for breath test refusal

Due to implied consent laws, like the one that exists in the state of California, drivers in some cases may face more serious consequences for refusing to take a blood-alcohol content test than they would if they were convicted of driving drunk. Under these types of laws, there is generally an automatic, or implied, consent that drivers must take a breath test when they are asked by law enforcement who suspect them of being under the influence of alcohol, as well as to submit to a blood or urine test if an officer has enough probable cause to lawfully arrest them for driving drunk.

A woman who was reportedly stopped by law enforcement in New Jersey in 2012 and asked to perform a breath test was convicted not for driving under the influence, but was instead found guilty of refusing a Breathalyzer. She appealed her conviction, but it was reported recently that a state appellate court ruled to uphold the conviction. The woman claimed that she had not refused to take the test, she had just not specifically said yes. The court found that her responses and questioning of officers, while not a refusal per se, was still not the clear yes response sought by officers and required by law.

Deputy mayor sought to suppress test results in DWI case

Law enforcement officers in California, and elsewhere, often use blood alcohol tests, including blood, breath and urine tests to determine a motorist’s BAC level. While there can be repercussions for a breath or blood test refusal, there are also strict regulations governing when, how and under what circumstances these tests can be administered. In cases when authorities fail to follow the appropriate steps, the results of any tests that were performed may be inadmissible.

According to reports, the deputy mayor of one city in New York sought to have the sobriety test results from his recent DWI arrest kept out of his trial. It was not reported on what grounds the man’s attorney requested the suppression. The request also reportedly sought to prevent statements the man made during his arrest from being heard in the case. Authorities allege the deputy mayor admitted to drinking three glasses of wine prior to being stopped and that he failed multiple portions of a field sobriety test. Furthermore, a breath test purportedly showed the man to have a 0.13 BAC level.

18-year-old Disney star charged with DUI in California

While most readers are aware that in California, and elsewhere, the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drivers is 0.08, that limit does not apply to motorists who are under the legal drinking age of 21-years-old. For drivers who are not yet of age, the legal limit is 0.01. This is in an effort to prevent underage drinking and driving because alcohol can have a more significant impact on teens and young adults, which can increase the likelihood for serious accidents.

According to reports, one of the stars of the popular Disney channel series, “Lab Rats”, Billy Unger, was arrested for DUI recently. At 18-years-old, Unger is well under the legal drinking age. It was not disclosed what type of BAC test he was given, however, it was reported that the young actor had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.08. He has reportedly since been released from jail.

Actor's wife arrested, claims she passed field sobriety tests

During traffic stops in Los Angeles County, and throughout California, law enforcement officers often use field sobriety tests in order to help them determine if a driver may be under the influence of alcohol. Without quantifiable results, these tests can be somewhat subjective. This can lead to drivers being arrested on DUI charges, despite feeling as though they performed the tasks asked of them acceptably.

According to reports, the wife of Oscar-winning actor, Richard Dreyfuss, was arrested in Encinitas recently for DUI. Mrs. Dreyfuss told news sources after her arrest, however, that she had passed field sobriety tests. It is unknown to the public at this time whether she was given a blood-alcohol content test, such as a Breathalyzer or blood test, to determine if she was in fact over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. Mrs. Dreyfuss did indicate that, before driving, she had drunk one glass of wine.

Man charged with refusing a breath test, other alcohol offenses

Although California’s implied consent law grants law enforcement officers the right to submit a driver to a breath, blood or urine test, without their permission after they have been arrested, motorists due have the right to refuse these tests when requested roadside, prior to being taken into custody. Refusal after a driver’s arrest, however, can result in upgraded or added charges and, in some cases, much more serious consequences.

Recently, a man in New York was arrested and charged with refusing a Breathalyzer, in addition to several other alcohol-related charges, after he flipped his truck into a home’s front yard. According to reports, he also declined to submit to field sobriety tests, go to the hospital or speak to a paramedic that was called out to the scene.

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