California DUI Defense Attorneys Challenge Science of Blood Alcohol Tests
DUI defense may have gotten a bit easier―at least that’s what some California DUI defense attorneys are saying. According to KPIX 5, criminal defense attorneys have begun challenging the science behind blood alcohol results, and have actually made some headway with juries by creating reasonable doubt. Basically, DUI defense attorneys want county labs that test blood alcohol levels to be certified under international standard, which most are not at this time, leaving the door open for reasonable doubt when a DUI case is based on a BAC reading. To battle this relatively new challenge, many California forensic labs plan to gain international certification by the end of 2013.
California Drunk Driving Laws
California operates under two general drunk driving laws (Vehicle Code Section 23142 (a) and 23152 (b)). Section (a) prosecutes DUI as a misdemeanor and states that an individual is driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; and Section (b) prosecutes DUI as a misdemeanor and states that an individual is driving under the influence with a BAC of .08%. In most cases, however, both sections of California DUI law are charged anytime an individual is charged. Even when only one act of DUI is charged, a defendant may be charged and convicted with both offenses. However, only one punishment can be meted out for a single DUI arrest. In addition, Vehicle Code Section 23153 governs felony DUIs in which an injury occurs and also is governed by Penal Code Sections 191.5 and 192 in reference to vehicular manslaughter cases.
Know Your Rights
If you are arrested for a DUI, either on misdemeanor charges or felony charges, it is wise to seek immediate counsel from a California DUI defense attorney. In addition, you should remember that you do have rights. Some of those rights that law enforcement often conveniently ignore include the following.
- Police must have sufficient facts that constitute probable cause to stop, detain or arrest a driver.
- Police should advise you that you are not required to submit to a field sobriety test or portable field breath test.
- Upon arrest, you must be advised of your constitutional rights before questioning occurs. (You must be given a Miranda warning.)
- You must be given the choice to take a breath test or a blood test. Should you refuse to submit to either test, you must be advised of the legal consequences of that refusal (legally referred to as implied consent advisement).
- For a breath sample cannot be saved, if you have a breath test administered at a police station, you must be offered the chance to obtain an independent test through your DUI defense attorney.
Never forget that the goal of law enforcement is to get a conviction. Police, while necessary for our protection and safety, are still mandated to vigorously pursue any evidence that could possibly lead to a conviction after a DUI arrest. Your best bet for battling that conviction is to promptly seek legal representation from an experienced California DUI defense attorney.