Have you been apprehended for driving under the influence in the state of California? If yes, it is common to experience fear. Punitive punishments accompany individuals who are found driving under the influence of alcohol. The individuals that cause damage to property and injuries to the other people face more stringent penalties. Whenever you are suspected by law enforcement agencies for drinking and driving, they will persuade you to take a breathalyzer test.

The most frequently used method of measuring blood concentration during a DUI arrest is by taking a breath test. Instead of being overcome by the state of affairs, the best option to do when found with DUI is to look for legal representation to help you come out of the situation with minimal penalties as much as possible. At Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm, we have the competency to fight for the people who have been arrested for DUI offenses. Our team of defense attorneys are aggressive and utilize the details of the case to accurately develop a defense and ensure the best possible outcome in court.

Here at Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm, we are committed to making sure that our client has the best representation possible. Our record in DUI cases have shown our competency of DUI laws in California.

What is the Meaning of Blood Alcohol Concentration?

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can be explained as the amount of alcohol concentration in the bloodstream of a person. The level of alcohol depends on how much a person consumes alcoholic drinks, the more drinks one consumes, the higher the concentration. Some factors affect blood alcohol concentration for example gender, medication, weight and whether someone has eaten. Its measurement is in a gram of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In California, BAC of 0.08 is the lawful limit for individuals who are 21 years old and above.

Alcohol affects the brain and lowers a person's response times. An individual takes longer to respond to hazards; for instance, if a dog ran in front of a car, the delay amid you seeing and placing your foot on the brakes reduces when you are intoxicated. Every alcoholic drink can have an increase in the "thinking distance" by about 20 %. The threat of getting accident rises in the following ways:

  • BAC of 0.05 increase by two times

  • BAC of 0.08 increases by four times.

  • BAC of 0.15 increases by twenty times.

Individuals driving while drunk underrate distances and speed of vehicles using the road. They also drive recklessly due to overestimating their ability to drive on the road because of intoxication. The legal driving limit prohibits an individual with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08% from driving in California.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration

Blood Test

The blood test is a more reliable DUI test for assessing an individual's Blood Alcohol Concentration. The blood test takes a direct measure of the alcohol presence in the bloodstream of an individual. Professional health care personnel will take a sample of blood using a small needle. A small amount of blood will then be collected and placed in the test tube to be tested for alcohol presence in your blood. The result of 0.0% BAC indicates that the individual is sober, legal intoxication is 0.08%BAC and from 0.08% to 0.40 % means that you are too impaired to drive. However, some factors affect the accuracy of the result, and they include the following;

  • The place where the sample was taken, it has to be done at the police station or the health facility and not in any other area to ensure efficiency.

  • When the blood sample was taken

  • Whether the right procedure was followed in the taking of the blood sample

  • The storage of the samples

  • Whether the sample had adequate protection and the anticoagulant to preserve its accuracy

  • Whether the individual who took the samples was well trained and authorized to do so

The California Code of Regulations (Title 17) sets out rules and proper regulations on how the government has to conduct blood alcohol concentration on the individuals suspected of DUI. The following guidelines apply to the blood test;

  • Expired preservatives should not in any way be used on the sample

  • The samples have to be kept well and safely according to defined guidelines to ensure safety.

  • Samples have to be mixed sufficiently with preservative and anticoagulant.

  • The blood samples have to be drawn by a professional technician and not done by any unauthorized person.

  • The sample has to contain the correct amount of preservative and anticoagulant to avoid instances of fermentation or clotting as that will result in wrong readings.

  • The site of drawing the sample may not be sanitized using an alcoholic based sterilizing agent as that may cause an inaccurate reading.

Breath Test

The law enforcement agencies use a various breath tests to measure the blood alcohol content of an individual during the DUI stop. The breathalyzer is designed to measure the level of alcohol content in deep lung air as is considered the perfect air to measure alcohol content. When the air gets into the device, the sample is multiplied by 2100 to get the ratio of blood to breath in an individual. The amount converts the detected alcohol level in the lung air to BAC. There are also elements that can cause the sample to be contaminated and they include the following;

  • Fermentation of food which is stuck in the teeth can be mistaken for alcohol by the machine.

  • In the case of inconsistent breathing by an individual can cause the test to be inaccurate and invalid.

  • The digestive conditions of the individual, for instance, acid reflux can seriously affect the accuracy of the result

  • Interference from the radio frequency electronic devices affects the circuitry of the breathalyzer reading and may give a false result.

  • Some medications can also cause intoxication readings hence affecting the accuracy of the result

  • Sometimes alcohol in the mouth from things such as mouthwash could be mixed in with the breath from the lung to give the wrong result on the breath test.

California's title 17 gives efficient rules and regulations on how DUI breath testing has to be conducted to enhance the correctness of the results.

The individual giving out the test has to follow the following stipulated guidelines appropriately;

  • One has to make sure that the sample air content is only from deep inside the lung and not from any other place.

  • The breathalyzer device has to calibrated after about 150 uses or after about ten days of use

  • 15 minutes of observation of the suspect must be done before beginning the breathalyzer test.

  • The individual should not drink, vomit, eat or smoke in the 15 minutes before administering the test.

Urine test

The urine test is only used on the individual as an option when the blood or breath test is not available for use. It is considered the least reliable option of the three analysis of blood alcohol concentration by the police. Its validity has been challenged for a long time by various legal professionals due to the many problems that come with the test. Moreover, the test offers a higher BAC level because of water being tested rather than the blood itself.

The alcohol concentration in the urine is about 1.33 times more than the alcohol concentration in the blood. Though the urine test is scientifically based, it is likely to have errors in the administration of the test. Therefore, adequate procedures have to be followed to enhance the accuracy of the result. California's article 17 also gives guidelines on the effective operations of the urine tested by the law enforcers. Before a urine test is administered on you, you have to be given time to empty your bladder. The test then can be conducted 20 minutes or later or it may be an invalid test.

In addition to these tests, the walk and turn test can also be used by the police officers in a situation where an individual refuse to take the other alcohol blood test. It is usually done by asking the suspect to walk heel to toe for a particular distance before the police officer instructs you to walk back. During the test, the police officer will see whether you are capable of following directions or not. The field sobriety test is not a highly accurate method, and one has to avoid it as much as possible to be used on you since it can be used as evidence against you in the court.

California Vehicle Code (23152(b) VC)

The California Vehicle Code(23152(b) VC) also called California's "per se" DUI Law makes it a criminal act for a driver having 0.08% BAC or greater. The law assumes that the individual above the BAC limits has committed a DUI offense even if there is no visual indications that he or she is under the influence of alcohol.

California has other several other BAC limits that are applied to different driving classes, and they include:

  • Commercial vehicles drivers should not have BAC of 0.04% while driving their commercial vehicle under California Vehicle code 23152(d).

  • Drivers who drive paying passengers in the vehicle should not have 0 .04% BAC or greater under California Vehicle code 23152(e).

  • The drivers who are under the age of 21 years should not have BAC of 0.05 % under California Vehicle Code 23140.

Furthermore, if the law enforcement officer stops an individual under the age of 21 for suspicion of driving under the alcohol influence and the result shows 0.01 BAC or more, an arrest is guaranteed. It is due to the zero-tolerance policy of the underage drinking which is strict on persons under 21 years of age. To be convicted of the offense of Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC, the prosecutor has to prove the following critical elements of the crime;

  • That you drove a vehicle on the road.

  • At the time of driving the vehicle, you had a BAC of 0.01% or more.

  • You are under the age of 21 years old

The penalties that accompany DUI in the state of California include the following to the individual found guilty of the offense.

  1. Driving license suspension; a conviction in the court for a first time DUI in California causes license suspension for six months under Vehicle Code 13352(a) (1). The suspension is only done by DMV through the notification from the court.

  2. 3 to 5 years of DUI probation; DUI probation allows the defendant to be out of jail by accepting to follow particular terms and restrictions given out by the court. The conditions usually include making payment of a fine and the completion of a California DUI School. Also, the defendant is not allowed to drive with any measurable BAC during the probation period which is usually about three years. In the case of failing to follow the terms, the probation can be revoked by the judge and the defendant jailed.

  3. California DUI School; California DUI school is a program of providing alcohol education and prevention as per the order of the court or from the California DMV. A driver has to enroll in the DUI school if convicted of a DUI offense. There are estimates of 500 licensed DUI programs in California which are administered by over 260 service providers.

  4. A fine of around $1,800 for a first-time offense

  5. Possibly time in jail.

When an apprehension is done for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, that means that there is credible evidence for a law enforcer to move forward with an arrest. Typically, the officer will proceed with a Field Sobriety Test and follow up with a breathalyzer if he suspects you of drinking and driving. You can refuse the breathalyzer at the scene without any consequences but it will be noted that you refused the breath test on the scene in the police report. On being arrested, you will be taken to the police station where you will have to choose which method you want to be used in conducting the blood alcohol concentration in you. Under California law, you can give acceptance to the blood alcohol content test when you are a licensed driver. In the situation where one does not accept to take a BAC test, they will have an automatic suspension of their driver’s license if they are still found guilty of DUI.

In some instances, the individual may not fully trust the BAC readings either because they know that they did not drink that amount of alcohol or due to the BAC being unreasonably high. In this particular situation, an individual has the capability of conducting another separate test. The application of a blood split motion allows the individual who has undergone the DUI charge to find out their blood alcohol concentration through a third-party agency. Dependent on the exact situation of DUI arrest, it is critical to note that an experienced Vista DUI Attorney can provide a defense for you against the charges mainly when the law enforcement officers did not follow the proper and effective regulations in gathering and storing the samples.

The police and other processing stations are required by law to accurately keep the blood or urine so that they can be efficiently tested to ensure correct results. If the securing of the sample is not done correctly, the attorney can have the blood or urine test removed from being used in the courtroom as evidence against you.

In addition to these factors, finding evidence that aid in the challenging of the evidence against you in the police custody is the role of the defense attorney. It is therefore important for an individual to find an expert defense lawyer for your case. A proficient attorney can possibly reduce a first DUI offense to a wet reckless. The wet reckless offense is usually accompanied by fewer penalties unlike a DUI conviction and will allow the individual to keep their driving rights. Therefore, it is important to speak to an attorney if you have been charged with DUI charges to see if there is a possibility of reducing your charges. The state of California has stringent driving laws, and it is advisable to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side who has the expertise to help you out. At Vista DUI Attorney we are fully ready to give help to our clients whenever you need assistance in any DUI case.

Contact DUI Attorney Near Me

Driving under the influence of alcohol in California is punishable with severe penalties which may potentially add harsh consequences to your life. The Vista DUI Attorney has many years of experience in the representation of their clients in DUI cases, and they have an understanding of all the arguments needed to free you from the serious penalties facing you.

At Vista DUI Attorney we comprehend that there are several details as to why blood alcohol concentration may be erroneous and can actually help your case. We will always defend you legitimately in a precise and aggressive manner. Schedule a consultation today with our professional lawyers and give the full details of your case. Call our Vista DUI lawyer at 760­-691-1540 to book for your consultation with our proficient lawyers and see what we can do for you!