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Encino DUI/DWI Law Blog

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.

Driver charged with DUI, murder after fatal Menlo Park wreck

In some cases, such as when someone is seriously injured or killed, drivers who are accused of driving drunk may face more serious charges and more severe consequences, including a lengthy jail sentence. The likelihood of this occurring can be increased when the alleged drunk driver has alcohol-related convictions in their background.

A woman in Menlo Park who is on probation for a previous driving under the influence conviction is reportedly facing murder charges, in addition to felony DUI charges, as a result of her alleged involvement in a recent fatal accident. According to reports, the upgraded charges against the woman were based on her activities the day of the accident and her criminal history. In addition to a previous DUI conviction, the woman has purportedly also been convicted of drug-related charges. No details were provided, however, regarding where she had been before the collision.

Lohan's mother fined, has license suspended for 2013 DWI arrest

Readers in Los Angeles, and elsewhere, are likely aware that being convicted of drunk driving is a serious offense. Being convicted of these types of violations can carry a range of consequences, including fines and jail time. One of the most common repercussions for motorists in California, and a number of other states, is a driver’s license suspension or revocation.

In September 2013, actress Lindsey Lohan’s mother was reportedly arrested and charged with DWI after a night out celebrating her 50th birthday in New York. According to reports, her blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.2 percent, but it was not indicated whether she was given a breath, blood or urine test.

Palm Desert man charged with DUI, despite BAC level under limit

Readers are likely aware that the results of blood alcohol content tests are often used by law enforcement in California, and other states, to determine whether or not a motorist is intoxicated. Just as the results of these tests can be used to prove that a driver is drunk, many people are also under the impression that if a blood, breath or urine test shows their blood alcohol level to be under the limit, they will not be charged with drunk driving. This, however, is not always the case.

Despite a BAC test showing he was under the .08 percent legal limit, an 83-year-old man in Palm Desert is reportedly facing a DUI charge after his role in an October 2013 accident. It was reported that the actions of the man gave authorities reason to believe that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. A blood test, however, showed his BAC level was only .04 percent.

Driver failed field sobriety test after fatal Santa Rosa wreck

When law enforcement officers are called out to the scene of an accident, part of their job is to identify what caused the collision. This includes determining whether any of the motorists involved may have been drinking alcohol. Authorities use a number of investigative methods to search for evidence of intoxication, including observation and questioning, field sobriety tests, Breathalyzers and blood tests.

Recently in Santa Rosa, a driver was arrested after he reportedly failed a field sobriety test. Prior to his arrest, the man allegedly hit an 81-year-old man who was standing on the road near his vehicle, killing him. Later a test showed the driver’s BAC level to be 0.10 percent. It was not reported what type of blood alcohol test he was given or how long after the accident it was administered.

Tests proved woman was sober weeks after drunk driving arrest

There are situations when law enforcement officers in California, and other localities, may suspect a driver of being intoxicated, but be unable to perform a field sobriety test. Often times in cases like this, authorities will arrest and charge the motorist based on observation, and other factors. While breath, blood and urine tests can confirm or deny the suspicion, it can take time to receive the results from those tests, so there are cases when innocent motorists may be arrested for drunk driving.

This was the case with one Wisconsin woman’s arrest in February 2013. According to reports, the woman was charged with “drunk driving causing injury” after she was involved in a collision with a sheriff’s deputy. The woman was severely injured, so she could not perform a field sobriety test. It was reported that the woman told authorities following the accident that she had a prescription for Vicodin, which she had not taken in a week or more, from having had her wisdom teeth recently removed. She also told them that earlier in the evening she had had a few tastes of a friend’s drink.

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